January 10, 2010

Fear Can Suck It

I hear her cry out late at night. She should be sleeping as bed time was at least three hours prior. I rush to her room, like a masculine Ms. Clavelle and as I open the door I see her tear-stained face clutching her stuffed kitty as she cries.

I quickly approach and begin to stroke her sweaty, matted hair. I ask her what’s wrong, expecting her to tell me she had a bad dream. Or maybe she has to go to the bathroom. Instead, through her sobs, she exlaims, “I don’t wanna go to school!”

And there it is.

Ever since we began talking about preschool – a real preschool and not the in-home preschool/daycare they go to now, I sensed that Swee’Pea has been scared about going. She is a worrier, that little one. She turns things over in her head and thinks about it until there’s nothing left to do but cry in the night.

I comfort her with soft caresses and I whisper, “It’s okay to be a little scared, Swee’Pea. It’s normal to feel scared about trying something new. But you know what? When you try it anyway, you feel so much better.”

A few more words of comfort and some gentle goodnight kisses is enough to send her back to sleep. And the next day we talk about how we want her to talk to Mommy and Daddy whenever she’s scared because using our words to talk about what scares us makes us feel better so we don’t cry in the middle of the night.

Swee’Pea agreed to talk to us but ever since I haven’t been able to get my own words out of my mind. When you confront things that scare you, it makes everything better. And then I think of all the fearful things that reside in the pit of my stomach that keep me from reaching my full potential. And my words suddenly felt hollow.

How can I look my daughter in the eye, encourage her to confront things that scare the bejeezus out of her, and not do the same myself? I have always promised myself that not only would I never lie to my children but I will always try to be the best role model I can be. So it has to start with me.

Since it’s fairly close to the new year, I’m going to call this a resolution. I resolve to look fear in the eyes and kick it’s ass in 2010. No longer will that nervous pit in my stomach overrule what I know needs to be done. No longer will I procrastinate because the idea of doing something makes me sweat. No longer will fear hold me back and keep me from realizing all that I can be. And no longer will I feel like a hypocrite when I look into my daughter’s eyes and tell her that trying will help the fear go away.

Fear can suck it.


  1. I wonder if for Swee’Pea if talking to cousin T about preschool would help? He was just where she’s at…

    As for looking fear in the eye? That’s an awesome resolution and one I think that most of us out here would do well to consider.

    Comment by Angela — January 10, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

  2. I think that’s a good thing for all of us to work toward. Good job, Dad. :-)

    Comment by Maura — January 10, 2010 @ 10:46 pm

  3. Ok, very noble, but cut yourself some slack too. What she is scared of, is something that you know. You know it’ll be good for her and that she’ll like it. I don’t think, as an adult, not facing your fears necessarily makes you a hypocrite. It depends on what those fears are, and where they come from. You’re a good dad to want to set a good example. But you’re a good dad too, even if you don’t face all your fears. You could be teaching your kids that caution is sometimes the best stance; you know like when bungee jumping or something.

    I’m obviously feeling contrary tonight, but I did want to say I don’t think your a hypocrite even if that isn’t your resolution or if you don’t keep it.

    Comment by mamaspeak — January 11, 2010 @ 12:14 am

  4. Such a great resolution. I, for one, have spent the last few years facing some big decisions. I’m absolutely paralyzed by fear so I do nothing …. I admire your bravery.

    Comment by Twenty Four At Heart — January 11, 2010 @ 1:11 am

  5. I would say that is a great and noble NY Resolution. Good for you.

    (And on the same note – can you get the girls into the program for a day in the spring to let things come to light, like every adult in the world would look forward to something as awesome as preschool!)

    Comment by RobMonroe — January 11, 2010 @ 3:36 am

  6. Great resolution, make fear your beotch.

    Comment by DCUrbanDad — January 11, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

  7. Swee’Pea is right on; she knew she had a problem and she expressed it. Ok, talking about it at dinner maybe the preferred time but it’s impoortant to praise her for expressing her feelings.
    I think a phone call to Golden Boy is a Great idea!

    Comment by Grandmother — January 11, 2010 @ 10:45 pm

  8. Good for you. Seriously – I am the same way and it’s past time to ignore that fear in the pit of my stomach and man up. So I’m with you. All the way.

    And as far as school goes, do you have a set schedule for it? Will it be all day, every day or something else? Because, for what it’s worth, my 4yo started GUNG HO for preschool, all day every day and then all of a sudden didn’t want to go AT ALL. Now we’ve got him on 3 days a week and he is WAY better about it – not so overwhelming I think.

    Comment by pgoodness — January 13, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

  9. Ooh yeah that’s a tough one. Because it’s not so cut and dry. I agree, fear can go scratch.

    (Happy Delurking Day!)

    Comment by samantha jo campen — January 14, 2010 @ 9:19 am

  10. That’s a pretty good resolution.

    And I hope preschool goes smoothly too.

    The funny thing with things you’re afraid of, is they are never as scary when you look at them from the other side. You’d just got to convince yourself of that as you approach them in the first place, and that’s pretty darn hard.

    Comment by pixielation — January 14, 2010 @ 10:17 am

  11. For you… on delurking day.

    GO DAD!!!

    Comment by Julie — January 14, 2010 @ 10:35 am

  12. It’s stuff like this that helps me understand why parents of older (high school) kids comment on how it changes but doesn’t get any easier.

    Thanks for the reminder to live fearlessly but instead with our hearts. There is a song that I love by Jana Stanfield, “If I Were Brave”. I remember these words when faced with fearful situations.

    If I were brave, I’d walk the razor’s edge,
    where fools and dreamers dare to tread.
    I’d never lose faith, even when losing my way.
    What step would I take today, if I were brave?

    What would I do today, if I were brave?
    What would I do today, if I were brave?

    Comment by Dawn — January 14, 2010 @ 10:39 am

  13. I’ve got a similar quasi-resolution going. I call it the “quit holding back and just do it” resolution.

    Maybe this is something that hits around 40?

    Comment by the weirdgirl — January 14, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

  14. Oh, I hate that!! We tell the kids they can do whatever they want, yet we hold ourselves back. I want to just say that we are hypocrites, but I think, for me anyway, that fear is from things that have happened in the past. All the times I’ve been shot down or all the times a project didn’t work out. I only remember the misses, not the hits. Uggg… bad me.

    I’m gonna kick fear’s ass, too this year. Maybe we should get matching shirts!! ;)

    Comment by Sugar Jones — January 18, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

  15. It is anticipation that kills me. I may fear some things, but having to wait to face them makes me nuts.

    Comment by Jack — January 19, 2010 @ 11:11 am

  16. This is great! I have just started making my own range of hand made JadeMonster plush toys that support women living in challenging circumstances in Vietnam. I get such inspiration from things like this. We all need to make changes. Keep sharing!

    Comment by Jade Leonard — January 22, 2010 @ 7:06 pm

  17. You are such a good dad! :D That is good advice you gave her, and even better that you are going to lead by example. Best of luck to you! :)

    Comment by Kellee — January 27, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

  18. Good advice, I was feeling the same way with our two little ones so I decided to try it too, starting off first with swim lessons (for me) to try to kick my fear of being underwater. Am much more comfortable so far but def not a swimmer yet! Good luck to you,

    Comment by Michelle Larsh — February 3, 2010 @ 7:31 am

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