As a parent, I like to think I have some things of value to teach my kids. If my childhood reactions serve as any indicator, some of those lessons will be accepted with thanks while others will be rebelled against under the inarguable fact that they know better (read: teenager). In the end, I can only hope that the “life” lessons my wife and I try to teach our kids will be heard, if not listened to, and absorbed to come to their aid and guide them when they need them.
This weekend I had the pure joy of seeing one of the lessons that we have tried to teach our kids with words, taught back to me by my 5-year-old daughter through action.
That lesson? Face your fear.
Fear is a strange and powerful emotion. It can stop us in our tracks, diminish us or worse, make us fall back and turn away from our chosen path or, it can empower us to take a stand, to move forward inch by inch to reach our goal.
This past weekend at the beach, while playing in the surf, a wave caught our daughter by surprise. It wasn’t a big wave by adult standards, but to a 5-year-old it was monster that came at her from behind, picked her up and then just dropped her. It was immediately clearly from the look on her face, when she asked me to get her out, that it had scared her.
After being wrapped up in a towel, she sat down, shivering and just stared at the water. As I sat down next to her, hugging her tight, I had to resist the urge to “teach” her, to reiterate the need to “get back up on the horse” (or wave, in this case). She didn’t need a lesson just then, she needed a hug. I asked if the wave had scared her. She simply nodded, yes. That was it. We just sat there warming up together.
Then, to my surprise, I heard a small voice from within the bundle of towels say: “I want to go back in.”
What struck me most was the determination in that small voice. She was going back in. That was that! She put on her wetsuit and floaties, took my hand and marched back into the waves.
At first, she held onto me tightly with both hands. The waves came in one after another, some big, some small, but she stayed in. Then she let go with one hand and we floated together, bobbing up and down in the waves. A hint of a smile started to show on her face. After a few more minutes, I said, “Ok, now let go and swim. I’ll be right here next to you.” She looked up at me with uncertainty, hesitated a bit, and let go! There she was, swimming in the waves by herself, with a huge grin on her face, having a great time!
There was a huge smile on may face too, not only because I was also having a great time playing in the waves, but because of the pride I felt in this little girl who didn’t let her fear stop her from moving forward.
Sometimes the student becomes the teacher.
Wishing you Happy Memories!
COO, Husband to CEO and Proud Father!