Be fearless, lest you teach your children the art of fear

Be fearless, lest you teach your children the art of fear.
Be fearless, lest you teach your children the art of fear.
Image: 123RF/ Jennifer Hogan

Have you ever just sat and observed children and realised how happy they are? How carefree?

I envy a lot of things about the lives children live, especially the fact that they have absolutely no bills to pay despite being the cause of so many.

My real big envy, though, is how absolutely fearless children are. A lot of it may have to do with childish naivety, but they observe no boundaries and live largely without fear.

The fear of failure and disappointment is not a human factory setting. It is learned behaviour. These are the things we pick up as we grow up. These are the things that we as adults teach our children.

Every day we instill fear in our children. We teach them that things could go wrong any minute, and so like us, they start to go through life thinking "but what if I fall?"

What I know is that I do not want my child to grow up to become the kind of adult who spends money on motivational speakers (rolling eyes) to tell us to unlearn things I shouldn't have taught her to begin with.

I spent last week in Gauteng celebrating my business that has just turned three. Of the three years, the last one has been the hardest, and I spent a lot of it crippled by fear. What if I fall? Was I going to fail and disappoint myself?

At an event to mark this occasion, I shed tears while looking at the huge crowd that had gathered to celebrate with me and wondered how it is that people could believe so much in this thing whose imminent demise I spend days agonising over. What if they knew the fears I harboured? Was I a fraud?

So I have spent the past few days reflecting on that moment. I have sat and thought about some of the ideas that I have been too fearful to launch. I have wondered about all the things I have been too scared to say.

I wonder where I would be had I not imposed these fear-based barriers on myself. I wonder about the many other lives I may have impacted on. I am loath to think about the time I may have lost because I was too afraid. Afraid of failing.

In her poem Tell Your Story, Lebo Mashile talks about developing and sticking to your will to tell your story, your truth and to let it nourish you. And this is my new resolve. To live a life that is rooted in my own truth and one that tries every day to silence the fears that I have nurtured over the years. To try to water and give life to the things that will give me life in return.

In a world that seeks to suffocate us daily, I hope to create channels for myself that will save me.

And so I will pursue every business idea I dream of, be in the relationship I want to be in and do all the things that I want to do, as long as they are for me.

I will try to remember every day that Lesedi is watching me, and make sure that if she learns how to be fearful, she would not have been taught by her own mother.

If the world tells her "what if you fall?" I want her to remember that flying is a possibility as well, and that failure and disappointment do not kill anyone. They simply allow us to be better, and we have no reason to live in fear of them.

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