“A life lived in fear is a life half lived”
This was the quote repeated in the Musical version of Strictly Ballroom I was lucky enough to see last night (If you love a good musical this is so much fun, full of song, dance, glitter, sequins and some good Aussie humour).
The premise of the show was about taking risks, doing what feels right and feeling empowered to make the right choices. I started thinking about this idea of living without fear. And just as those that lived a life in fear in the show eventually became unstuck, I realised how often we see this in everyday life.
When it comes to parenting I think we see this too much.
How is it possible to live without fear when you have children though? They are so very precious, their little lives become everything to us and the thought of something happening to them is enough to suck the very breath from us.
So of course we need to be super vigilant when it comes to their safety, their wellbeing and and instil behaviours that allow for good choices as they grow.
But sometimes fear can be debilitating.
Fear can stop parents letting their children take risks. It may shield them from perceived dangers, but it prevents them building the skills to face those situations in the moments when we are not around.
Fear can stop parents from listening. We may need to have rules and boundaries we expect to be obeyed, but we miss so much if we don’t take the time to really listen. We can often be surprised by what they feel and what they are capable of achieving if we think past the fear and look toward understanding and compromise.
Fear can stop parents from learning. Every day I hear of parents trying to shield their children from online dangers by either sticking their head in the sand and hoping things will go away or by trying to prevent and block and ban in order to minimise the exposure to risk. Unfortunately this is rarely helpful. Parents need to use this fear as motivation to get information, to start discussions and to be empowered.
Fear can stop our kids from thriving. All of our kids have different needs, different abilities and different levels of independence. We must learn to look at each individual and follow their lead. Let them take the little steps they need to give them the confidence to really thrive.
It is a tough balance isn’t it? Protecting, nurturing and shielding, whilst giving them the skills, the thinking and the behaviours to go forth and live a life fully lived.
Do you see fear come seeping in to your everyday parenting choices? Can you think of times when you need to push yourself to let go a little?