Three Important Lessons on Conquering Fear I Learned From My Son

 

Fear is only as deep as the mind allows. – Japanese Proverb

I learned a lot last week watching my four year old play and he inspired me to reflect on this experience.  I took my older son, Lucas, out of daycare and went on an adventure to the Liberty Science Center in NJ.  In the middle of the museum is a large climbing feature known as the Infinity Climber.  It’s a suspended play space that is 26 feet wide, 24 feet deep, 19 feet tall, and most importantly, it’s perched 35 feet in the air.  It’s contained by hand threaded wire to prevent any climber from falling 35 feet to the ground below and has 64 pedal-like platforms creating multiple pathways throughout the structure.  In a nutshell, it’s a blast for most who enter, but it’s daunting structure for a four year old.
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Lucas and I have visited the museum several times and he’s always been too afraid to go near the climber. As always, I encouraged him to try and tackle this seemingly massive structure. This time he went to the edge, looked around, took a step and leaped into the structure (see the above photo). In the blink of an eye, he was off to the races!  Once he took that initial step, he was climbing up and down, swinging on the pedals and conquering his fear.  Every so often, he looked and flashed a smile as he continued his way around the Infinity Climber.  I cheered him on and encouraged him to explore and have fun for as long as he wanted.  He spent nearly an hour working his way through  with only a small break for a drink of water and a high five for his mother.

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When we confront our fears, we find out how resilient we really are.  Being able to do so helps us grow and we take away valuable lessons even from a four year old taking on a climbing structure.  My family is my biggest joy in life and I couldn’t help but share this anecdote and some of the lessons I learned from someone much younger than me!

  1. Conquer your fears.  Everyone is afraid of something or other.  The only way you can go ahead in life is by overcoming your fears and conquering them.  We develop confidence when we successfully overcome adversity.  For my son, taking the first few steps in and realizing he couldn’t fall was all he needed to realize he was going to be okay.  Remember, the more challenges we face throughout our lives the more prepared we’ll be to deal with adversity in the future. Don’t wait for fear to put you in a corner, tackle it before it tries to tackle you.
  2. When forced to do so, embrace fear.  Sometimes life is scary. It’s normal to be scared and sometimes life may only give you one opportunity to say YES or to try something new.  The best things in life often happen as we approach the edge of our comfort zone.   We don’t know what we’re capable of until we find ourselves in a situation where we have no choice.
  3. Support systems are key.  Anything we’re confronted with in life, chances are someone has experiences or been through something similar.  Leaning on others and asking them how others have overcome a similar challenge can often help us to shorten our learning curve and identify and take the right actions.

I encouraged my son to explore and take a risk, highlighting how much fun he would have should he try and conquer his fear.  He needed that subtle encouragement to go to the edge and take his first step and the rest is history. If we’re able to accept that our fears are mostly made up within our minds we’re likely to take on new risks within our lives.  As long as we take on thoughtful risk, we will likely grow and be better prepared for the next challenge.

I’d love to know what lessons or advice you have for encouraging people to face fear. Please leave a comment or send me a tweet.  Thanks for reading!

Plugging back in…as a mommy

Everyone encouraged me to enjoy every second with my baby and advised that time would fly by quickly. I unplugged and disconnected from the digital world as much as possible, I enjoyed spending time cuddling with my baby boy, Lucas Emet Pick.  We’ve done so much in the past three months, it’s hard to believe.  Not only did we welcome Lucas into the world, but we packed up & sold our co-op in NY and moved into our new house in NJ and settled in with a newborn.  I can’t believe how quickly three months have passed, my maternity leave has come and gone, and I’m heading back to work in the Big Apple tomorrow.  On the eve of my final day at home, I wanted to reflect upon my three month hiatus and share five thoughts.

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1) You’ll be amazed at what your body can do.  I’ve always been someone who needed extra sleep to function, so before Lucas I was anxious about how I would react to the sleep deprivation that comes along with being a new parent.  It’s amazing at how little sleep you need to actually function and how quickly your body adjusts.  In the early stages of feeding Lucas, every few hours I would always hold him tight and get a chill of the excitement that I would be able to sooth my child and give him what he needs.  Even during his early growth spurts he would flash a smile that would make my heart melt. It is all worth it.

2) It’s okay to cry, a LOT! Right after birth, the nurse laid Lucas on me, I couldn’t stop crying.  I was waterworks central the first two weeks, but my hormones adjusted.  I remember our first “long” car ride from Long Island to New Jersey for Lucas’ bris, sitting in the back seat of the car next to his car seat sobbing for no reason.  It was the first time I had to get myself dressed, packed, and get him organized and out for a few days, and it totally wiped me out.  Over time I developed a rhythm, and doing things became much easier, just as my mother said they would.  Sometimes I cry just because, and guess what, It’s okay!

3) You can’t imagine the love you will feel as a parent until you actually become one.  Okay this sounds silly and cliche, but it’s really true.  I didn’t expect to feel a bond with Lucas so quickly, but the second the nurse handed him to me, it made my heart melt into a pile of mommy mush, and to this day, I fall more in love with him every second of every day.

4) Enjoy the Experience. The past three months have been the most exciting three months of my entire life.  I’ve fallen head over heels in love with Lucas and I’ve fallen more in love with my husband seeing him as a father.  We’ve tried to soak up every moment together as a family and I’ve never felt so grateful to be surrounded by so much love.

5) The best advice I would like to give any new parent is to ignore everyones advice.  Every family member and friend seemed to have advice or thoughts that they loved to share, all of which we appreciated. However, there’s no parenting guide that is a one size fits all model.  In the end you have to adapt to what works best for you, and ignore everyone else.

Welcome to the World Lucas Emet Pick

39 days ago on October 6, 2014 our little boy Lucas Emet Pick joined the world at 7:04 A.M. At that moment our entire world changed, it was no longer about us, everything now was about Lucas, and the love we felt was deeper than anything my husband and I have ever experienced before.

It’s been an amazing five weeks with Lucas, and I’ve enjoyed unplugging from the digital world (as much as humanly possible) and enjoying every second with my baby.  Every day he’s growing, changing, cooing, smiling, and soon hopefully he’ll be sleeping!

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I’ll be back and blogging shortly, but wanted to share this very important update with my followers 🙂