Monday, April 14, 2008

PL day 4: Don't live in fear

You can't be a good parent and live in fear. That's not to say you don't act cautiously or thoughtfully--and unfortunately, we know that we need to instill in our children the sad fact that dangers do exist (even if we wish they didn't).

But you can't let fear of the unknown (or the potentially uncomfortable) get in the way of living a life with children. Case in point, yesterday I gathered up all three girls and we headed over to the mall so that Sarah and Grace could play and so Lynda could focus on her work for an hour. I've done this many times in the past, but never with Hannah. How would I deal with three? Would Hannah cry constantly? Could I logistically manage all of them at once?

The answer was that it went fine. Hannah was quiet in the van (even though her feeding time was approaching), the girls played, they listened, everything was good. Hannah fed well and I think she even enjoyed watching the blurs of kids running here and there on the fake animals at the Zoo play Court.

But if I had feared mistakes, feared uncomfortableness, we'd have stayed home, Lynda would have gotten nothing done, and we'd have all killed each other. I took a chance, embraced the possibility that it would work out fine, and acted.

Now, for me, these are bold words. Much of my younger life was not about bold action, embracing failure, etc. I lived in fear of fear, worry of the unknown. And I still have those tendencies. But, I think I'm growing in the opinion that, for me, as a parent, you've got to live a life of confidence. Because, otherwise you're going to run into trouble. All children want to do is ask questions about life and gauge how things are. If you aren't prepared to give your answers to those questions, then what? Being a parent is all about making choices and accepting the consequences. If you aren't willing to embrace those choices, then you're in for trouble somewhere down the line.

So, don't live in fear. Take that spur of the moment walk. Go places with your kids. Expose them to things. Jump out of planes . . . wait, maybe not that last one.

1 comment:

David said...

Though I will concede that it's perfectly okay to tiptoe around the house, fearful that your clomping feet might wake a sleeping baby.