The Fine Line Between Caution & Fear

In the last month we have taken a couple of trips up to my family’s houseboat.  My fondest childhood memories are from Instiable, and it is so fun to now watch my children begin to make their own memories there.

This last trip we witnessed Maddison perform a daring feat…she jumped off the top of the houseboat!  It’s about an 8 feet drop from the roof to the water, so for a little 4 year old that’s quite a leap.  My paternal instincts said to not let her do it.  She’s too little; she could slap the water too hard; she could not jump out far enough and hit the boat!…as a parent you always think of the worst.  But, I tuned all of that out and guided her out onto the ledge.  While it’s scary to let your kid take chances, being overly fearful for them can be even worse.

Kids are little sponges.  They observe our actions, our words, and especially our emotions.  A fearful parent will breed a fearful child, and a fearful child often grows up to be a fearful adult.  Too many of us, unfortunately & admittedly, let “fear take the wheel and steer” (a great line from the song Drive by Incubus) in our life, and it inhibits our ability to live life to the fullest.  As parents, we should try to avoid instilling a fearful outlook in our children by means of our own fearful behavior.

There’s nothing wrong with being cautious.  Caution can keep us safe and alive!  But too much caution, even towards our children’s welfare, turns to fear that is detrimental to their well-being.

Becoming overly fearful doesn’t just apply to parenting; it applies to everything.  In my mortgage and real estate practice, I often see clients, business owners, and myself make foolish, fear-driven decisions.  I’m sure you witness (and experience!) the same thing in your life too!  There’s a fine line between caution & fear, and it’s a tricky balancing act to pull off.  Parenting, more than anything, has taught me that.

As for Maddison, I’ll continue to show her how to make life’s risky “leaps” correctly, knowing the day will come where she will hurt her body or someone will hurt her heart (even worse L).  These risks, however, must be taken to keep her confident, fearless attitude intact.  If only all of us can be as fearless as Maddison!  The world would be a better place!

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