The other day Wren and her Dada were drawing on the chalkboard in her room. They were drawing the ocean and all the creatures who live there. Wren will be three in July so most of what she knows about the ocean, she learned from Finding Nemo.
They drew, ahem, Nemo. Jellyfish, sea turtles, Dory the angelfish and finally "scary sharks." When she said scary sharks, she also held up her hands and wiggled her fingers and spoke in a whispered ominous voice. "Scary sharks!"
While I think it's hilarious, I also think its unfortunate. I hate that my daughter is learning fear at such a young age. She's also recently afraid that "Swiper" is going to come pilfer everything from our home. She handed her baby sister a toy and said, "Mama, Swiper no swiping from Baby Aum!" I hate that she really thinks a cartoon fox is a threat. Maybe it's my fault for letting her watch these cartoons. Or maybe she was inevitably going to develop a fear of something at this age anyway.
Fear is good, it keeps us safe. But sometimes it keeps us too safe. Fear duplicitously makes us think we're being safe when really we're being held back. Children learn fear at a tender age and before we know it, the "scary sharks" turn out to be jobs, moving, relationships and change in general.
How many times have I talked myself out of "going for" something because I convinced myself there was somebody better, or I wasn't qualified, or "someones already thought of that." In truth, all of those things might be true but why not try anyway? Fear. Fear insidiously gets in my head becoming the voice of oppression.That voice tells me, "You're too old now for that old dream. That ship has sailed. Hang it up, girl." Our perception is our reality, even though it may not be real reality. We believe what
fear tells us.
You should be afraid to get in cars with strangers. That is legitimate fear. But self-limiting, dream-killing fear should be admonished and sent to bed with no supper. I say (and hope to practice what I'm about to preach here) throw open the doors of your dreams and walk through! Punch those scary sharks in the nose and start swimming! Even if you fail to do what you set out to accomplish, you have succeeded. Regret is a shark bite in and of itself. You'll never regret reaching for something you want.
Fear keeps us from really living. To live is to grow, to thrive, to experience! Don't let fear talk you out of making changes. Change brings growth and freshness. Live, don't merely exist.