It was just another day at the local pool. I looked up from watching my toddlers splash around the kiddie pool to check on my 4-year-old, but he was nowhere to be seen.
I glanced around the complex. Nothing. I stood up and looked hard at the bottom of the pool he’d been splashing in a moment before. Nothing.
Would you risk your life for your kids?
I bet in the moment, you wouldn’t take time to think about it.
My pulse quickened as I looked at the bottom of each pool.
Then I found him in the bathroom.
I didn’t have to use my superpowers that day, but I knew I would have done anything to save my son.
Your secret weapon against fear.
I’m sure we’ve all had an experience like this where we get a taste of how powerful a parent’s love is.
The day we become parents we have more to be afraid about, but we also get a weapon to fight fear like none other.
What gives parents superpowers when they realize their children are in danger?
Love does. But there’s a catch:
We rarely are triggered to use our great power of love for fear-defying action.
Why? Because life-threatening situations are rare.
Most of our fears are unfounded. I have a recurring fear that while walking down a busy road I will accidentally steer the stroller into oncoming traffic.
These improbable threats aren’t real, so they don’t trigger the amazing power of our fear-conquering love.
The real threats to our children’s well-being are so subtle we overlook them every day.
Take fear itself. Are we teaching our children to be fearful when we’re afraid to make mistakes or try something new?
I don’t want my kids to learn fear from me. I want them to learn overcoming fear from me.
The only way to teach facing fears is to face our own fears while our children are watching.
As a parent, you have a powerful fear-conquering love within you.
What if you could harness the power of parental love to face your everyday fears?
I’m afraid of driving. We bought a car six months ago and I still haven’t gone anywhere alone with the kids besides the local library.
Every time we get in the car the kids say, “Don’t drive, Mommy. We want Daddy to drive.”
Despite it all, I try to drive once a week. My husband doesn’t understand my fear of driving, but he understands I need help and encouragement to overcome my fear.
He tells the kids that Mommy has to practice if she is going to get better at driving.
He tells the kids to be proud of their Mommy for facing her fears.
I don’t feel heroic getting behind the wheel with my kids in the car – I could kill us all with a single hand-jerk!
I don’t feel powerful, but I know I’m teaching them (and myself!) a powerful lesson:
Fear doesn’t have to stop us. We can overcome our fears.
I’m afraid of plenty more than driving.
I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid of spiders and phone calls. I’m afraid of looking like a fool. I’m afraid something will happen to my kids.
I’m even afraid I don’t love my kids enough to risk my life for them.
I’m afraid my kids are learning fear from me.
Our children are watching and learning from our example.
I don’t always have the strength to face my fears for my own sake. Yet when I do it for my kids I gain a victory for myself.
The more I practice for the sake of my kids, the more I learn deep down inside me that it’s possible to conquer fear.
How to teach your kids to face their fears.
We don’t have to fight all our fears at once to teach our kids to be fear fighters.
Progress in one fear is enough to show them that fear doesn’t have to have the last word.
Think back to a time when you did something courageous for the sake of your kids. You made a tough phone call, or you stood up to an authority, or you stayed calm when you saw the dead mouse.
Now think of an area where your kids might be learning fear from you. Can you use the power of your deep love for your child to practice facing your fear?
Next week I’ll share my favorite tricks for facing fear.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!