It appears to me that most people are in love with fear so much that they have chosen to live with fear.
We seem to cling to enough fears, like fear of the future, or fear of others acceptance / opinion about us, or fear of others getting the better of us. We even preach children to be scared of God.
We like fear so much that we gift it to our children. Some tame children with fear: “Do this else that will happen, eat this else you will not grow tall or fair” and so on. Some give them a childhood of fear called school.
The whole working of school, as we experience it, seems to be based on fear.
Study this or else you will be a dullard, an illiterate.
Do this in this way only, sit still, talk only when you are told, behave in this way or you will grow to be an undisciplined wayward.
Pass this exam, else you are a failure.
The desk, the studies, the classroom, the teacher and principal – are all to be feared.
And if this is not enough, constantly fear the future. Parents live anxieties about career, money, success and the future as if it is some dark abyss, unfathomable, unless we fix it somehow now. Obviously what we end up doing is giving children too, a life of fear.
I am sure some of you are already defending all the above with your ‘BUT this is important, BUT this is reality, BUT if not this then ?… ’
But I have some other BUTs to offer:
BUT the child is capable and will be able to figure out his or her future, so why worry about it.
BUT when we give the child responsibility for himself or herself, then the child makes his or her path.
BUT a child’s life can be one of faith – in his or her ability, to carve out his or her destiny, to embrace the uncertainties as adventures of living.
BUT instead of us being a peddler of fears and hence control and imposition, we could offer the child support to develop his or her abilities, resourcefulness and strengths, to be able to enjoy life both now and in future in his or her own ways.
When I talk like this, people start deriding ‘freedom’. BUT ladies and Gentleman I am not lauding freedom, rather I am advocating responsibility, I am offering choices and I am invoking the leader in every child, inviting him or her to lead their own life.
The opposite of fear, to me, is not courage but CREATIVITY. Child’s innate ability to create her next moment, to create choices, to create mistakes, to fall, to fail, to get up and to explore other choices and in this whole day to day creating, live a life of possibilities.
And we, as parents, as significant adults in their life, play such an important role of offering thema relationship of faith with questioning, an assurance of acceptance with introspection, a partnership of doing with feedback, a companionship of joy with reflection, and a life of spiritedness with co-creation.