Monday, August 04, 2014

{fear does not equal failure}

We took the boys to my hometown fair last week and did the predictable things...ate fried food, petted baby ducks, filled our mouths with fluffy cotton candy. We taught Landon how it will melt in your mouth if you have the patience to wait, and watched the look of childhood amazement in his eyes as he felt it disappear into bits of crystallized sugar on his tongue. Man, that is the best.

The one thing that I never saw coming was that both the boys rode a roller coaster. Granted, it was the miniature kiddie coaster, but STILL. MY children rode a roller coaster. If you know me at all, you will understand why this is a big deal.

I was shocked when Landon stopped in front of the dragon-themed mini coaster and insisted on riding it. The look of excitement on his face was contagious. It even transferred over to me, and I would rather clean a toilet than ride any variety of coaster.

Landon has been rather timid lately...displaying anxiety over lots of new life experiences, so the fact that he wanted to ride this thing made me all sorts of proud and freaked out all at the same time. Ben wasn't quite so sure, and I thought that would change Landon's mind. But he didn't care one bit. He eagerly jumped in line and practically ran up the steps and hopped into an empty car.

This is my son who has had major melt-down freak-outs on two different "train" rides, both of which were the most harmless rides you can imagine. 

I have to admit I was waiting as the ride started for him to realize what he had gotten himself into and start screaming for someone to get him off.

But he didn't. He didn't look like he was having the time of his life as the cars bumped around the track, but he didn't freak out. He even smiled when he got off.

His enjoyment was apparently so convincing that Ben decided to ride it next. He was the only one in line, so he had the ride all to himself. Out of my two boys, Ben is the more adventurous, and after Landon's success I was optimistic that he would enjoy the ride as well.

Not so much. After the first tiny hill, I focused in on his face and he was overcome with fear. He was crying and screaming for them to stop the ride. Thankfully, since he was the only one on the ride, the operator stopped it and let him get off.

He thought he had failed. But I was SO proud of him for trying, and I told him that more than a few times on the way back to the car.

Why is it that when we are afraid of something, we equate that feeling with failure?

I'm amazed, at the age of six, how the boys already do this. They define success by completing a task with zero fear and seeing it to completion. If they are afraid, they feel like they have failed. Failure is already a thing for them. This amazes me and makes my heart sink all at the same time.

On our way home , the roller coaster was the prime topic of back seat conversation. Landon said that Ben shouldn't have gotten on the roller coaster because he got scared. I was quick to jump in and talk to them about fear, and how it can be a good thing. How trying something new, even if you are afraid, is a wonderful thing.

I'm hoping some of it stuck in their little brains.

And it was a good reminder for me as well.

What about you? Do you equate fear with failure? Or do you jump into something new with both feet, fear and all?


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