What Shall We Fear?

Mar 2, 2010 by

Or is the question more “why do we fear?”

For kids, fear is pretty straightforward. They fear the potential monsters under the bed or in the closet. Yet that’s easy to fix. We take a baseball bat and swing it under the bed; we close the closets; we get them a night light.  See? No monsters.

Kids seem to fear what comes out of their imagination more than anything.  The unknown.

Adults also fear the unknown. Yet we also seem to fear the known. We seem, at times, to fear life.  The potential job loss, the mortgage, our health, our kids’ safety, our future, the economy, a myriad of “what ifs,” our  …  fill in the blank.

Kids, other than their imagination, seem to fear only what we tell them to fear – strangers, the razor in the apple on Halloween. I wonder when the change comes, when kids start fearing life.  

These deep thoughts came about recently when a friend invited us up to go fly in his single-engine prop plane.  Let’s just say I have a healthy respect for small engine planes. And big engine planes. And jets. One of my biggest fears is giving up control.

Yet two of the Sons of Thunder jumped at the opportunity. The oldest last flew as a mere baby and doesn’t even remember it. The youngest has never flown.  And let’s face it, I was a little worried for the youngest.  I anticipated a “freak out” somewhere after takeoff when he actually looked down.

But my fears were groundless.  Not only did he sit on a cushion to see better, he sat on his coat to get even better visibility.  And while I’m worried about, well, everything, he’s all over the headset he gets to wear and is just talking up a storm.  I never did find the mute button. Nor was I ever able to convince the eldest Son he did not need to touch every single friggin switch on the plane.

And then our dear pilot friend turns over “flight control” to the eldest Son.

I immediately thought of the inaugural address of Franklin D. Roosevelt, where he said, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Then I thought that FDR never flew in a four-seater with an 11-year-old at the wheel on his pilot inaugural flight.  And then I think there aren’t any parachutes.

And then I look over at the youngest Son worried how he’s going to take this  …  and he’s asleep.

So much for fear; because the eldest did just fine, even made a turn or two. And our pilot was the perfect coach; a perfection of calm.

So why do we fear? I have no idea. I do know, however, our fears won’t change anything. Fearing won’t make the fear go away. Fearing is just fear.

If we were to just flip the dog, so to speak, we’d realize we can let fear control us or realize it’s just an emotion.  We can control our emotions, or let them control us.

I’d still rather have a parachute, but thinking about that, I wonder if I’d have too big a fear of jumping.

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1 Comment

  1. Christinna

    I have done both. I prefer piloting. Jumping gave me an ear ache for a week. Keith loves it and has made nearly 100 jumps. I just dump him out and try to make it back to the strip before he gets down. 11 years old is perfect for flight training. I didnt start until I was 26.

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