Who is the biggest creator of fear in our lives?

I met a friend last night for a catch up…it had been at least 6 months since the last time we caught up properly. Most of the time it’s just general chit chat. I am fascinated by her job and the work she does (she’s a doctor) and love asking her lot’s of different questions.

Yesterday however, conversation was much deeper and I left feeling completely enlightened. I haven’t had a conversation like that in a while and obviously I was enjoying myself because we met at 7:30pm and before I even had a chance to glance down at my phone, it was 11pm (and we were given the call of last orders).

One of the topics we talked about was fear and how much it can take over our lives. I went on a Chinmaya camp once and the biggest lesson I learnt was how much of our fears are inflicted upon us by ourselves. We can find so many different catalysts to base our fears on and yet peel away at the layers and we’ll always find ourselves at the bottom.

She went on to send me this very powerful clip from the movie Akeelah and the Bee.

Most of the fears we have come from our childhood. We don’t often remember the memory but our subconscious certainly does and brings it up to haunt us. As a mom, I try my very best not to project my fears onto S. To allow him to live fearlessly…even if that sometimes means I feel like my heart is running around in front of me. While it can be daunting to allow our children to take baby steps towards independence, they are very important steps.

Of course, it’s easy to say we should be living fearlessly but getting out of the rut is difficult for most. I think what I’ve learnt recently is that we need a higher goal, something that’s far more important to ourselves than the fear we hold on to. In my case, it’s S. While having a young child is a huge responsibility and no easy task, he is also my greatest source of courage.

It’s so easy to get sucked into the fear based parenting vortex. How do you overcome your fears and the fears you have for your children?

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Where do our fears come from?

I was at the playground the other day when I saw some early teen boys swinging while holding on to a round metal disc that was suspended 8ft in the air. My first reaction was “that’s crazy!” (they were swinging almost parallel to the ground, going very fast and then just jumping off) until a few seconds later when I thought “Actually, I would have done something like that at that age!” Until about the age of 16, I was quite the tom boy.

So where do our fears come from? I always refer to S as such a daredevil. He’s fearless and such a stuntman on his little motorbike. Is fear genetic or are our fears based on our experiences and the influence of those around us? And if I didn’t encourage him to be fearless, would he be more fearful?

I did a little research and can tell you that fears aren’t genetic. Monkeys born in the wild are afraid of snakes — a useful asset for their survival. But monkeys raised in a laboratory don’t react when they see a snake, whether it’s poisonous or not. Source

It would appear that our fears mainly come from our past experiences and the influences of those around us. As a child, if we watch our mother react badly and with fear when she sees a dog, we will most likely grow up fearing dogs. You’ll often hear parents say “Don’t run, you’ll get hurt” or “Don’t do that, you’ll fall”, “don’t wear that, everyone will laugh at you”, “don’t swing too high, you’ll fall off”. All it takes is a comment, a glance, one moment, to start instilling fear in our children.

I have an irrational fear of sharks…I can’t remember at what age in started but I can pretty much freak myself out in a dark swimming pool imagining there’s a shark. I’m guessing it came from watching a scene of JAWS and other shark attack movies at a young age. Just looking at the picture below makes me shiver!!

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So how can we make sure our children don’t imbibe our fears? Quite simply I think it comes down to watching our reactions and watching our words. We can feel fear but not show it to our children. By watching our words and forming sentences in a different manner, we can let them know of the potential dangers of what they are doing without making them feel the consequence is a given. So if your child is running along the pavement you can say “Be careful running along the pavement because there are cars driving by” instead of “Stop running or you’ll get hit by a car”.

Here are some interesting related videos:

http://www.beejalparmar.com/children-pick-up-on-your-fears/

http://www.parentscanada.com/preschool/understanding-fear-based-responses-in-children

Choosing kindness

Earlier in the week I read a beautiful article about choosing kindness.

For me, it was a very apt read given a scenario I am currently facing. I feel like as women and mother’s, we take the world on our shoulders. Wanting to do the best for our partners, our children, our extended families that very often we neglect ourselves. I’ve seen it time and time again with women around me. Sacrificing our desires for those we love.

Very often when I am faced with a certain situation, I find myself being much harsher on myself than I would if a friend came to me for advice in the same situation. Reading this article reminded me of how important it is to choose kindness. But not just in the way we behave with others, but in the way we treat ourselves.

We can choose to be kind in almost every moment of our day: holding the door open for someone, greeting a shop clerk with a smile, saying thank you to the bus driver, interacting with our family, even looking in the mirror. Throughout the day we have ample opportunity to choose kindness and it doesn’t cost us anything.

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And what goes hand in hand with kindness, is gratitude. About 90 days ago, I started the 100 happy days project on Instagram. The idea is to upload an image a day that brought me happiness. More recently, Dino Daswani of Dino’s words of wisdom blog started an online gratitude thread. He’s encouraged people from around the world to name one thing they are grateful for each day. So often we can name many things we’re grateful for: our family, good health, wealth, friends, etc. But gratitude is not just about recognising what we are grateful for but rather practicing what we are grateful for. And practicing making choices to be a better person.

Essentially none of us are bad people, but often because of our egos and our fears, we do and say negative things. We think the worst of people, we doubt people and eventually muddy our own peace of mind. I’ve been at the receiving end of some unkindness recently but rather than ask “why?”, going forward I’ll be choosing kindness wherever I can because in order to change the world, we need to first change ourselves.

All it takes is a second…

My mom and I took S for a walk today and as we were on our way home, passing our local tube station (I’m back in London btw), we saw a mom with her son and husband running up and down the street screaming Sammy, Sammy. We stopped in our tracks and quickly realised that she was looking for her second son. It was only 5pm but it was dark and we were on a very busy main road. I was looking around trying to figure out how I could help when my mom heard a little boys voice on the other side of the road. The boy started running across the street and luckily a lady nearby got to him. In the meantime the mom couldn’t do a thing because the traffic lights had changed and cars were speeding along blocking her way. The whole thing lasted only 30 seconds but the fear that built up in both mine and my moms hearts was overwhelming. It took me a few minutes to breathe normally again and my mom shed a tear (maybe because my brother is called Sammy and so it was all very close to home for her).

I simply cannot imagine what that child’s mom went through in that brief time. She couldn’t let go of her other sons hand as she searched for her son Sammy, she couldn’t see very far because it was so dark, it was a huge junction with cars coming very fast and he could have been anywhere. It appeared that he lost them somewhere in the tube station and ended up coming out of a different exit (on the other side of this busy road). I’m sure she’s still in shock and just thanking God for keeping her son safe and sound.

Unfortunately, this sort of thing is common occurrence. Young children have such an innate sense of curiosity, it is so easy for them to wander off looking at something and for parents to assume their child is following them. Especially with Christmas coming up and roads, malls and tubes being even busier than usual. So I did some research and here are a few tips to ensure your child is kept safe should the unthinkable happen:

1. Make sure they know your first and last name as well as your telephone number.

2. If you’re travelling with your child, always discuss an emergency plan with them so they know what they need to do.

3. Teach your child to recognise a person of authority. It could be a policeman/woman, a conductor at a train station, a flight attendant or a security guard at a mall or in a shop.

4. When headed to a crowded place, always point out the concierge or information desk to your child and tell them to go there and make an announcement should they get lost.

5. If you have more than one child to keep an eye on, get them to hold hands or hold each of their hands. When in a public place make constant conversation so their attention is on you and no where else.

I thank God that this mom had a happy ending, it certainly made me hug my little boy tighter when we got home.