What is it about fear that makes it easy to describe when we’re young and less so as we become older? It may be the fact that children have no reluctance about saying whatever is on their minds. Adults learn to develop filters that prevent them from saying many things, especially those that represent any appearance of weakness.
The best way I can describe this is by using myself as an example. On the most basic level, I am seriously afraid of rodents. While I’m not entirely sure why this is true, mice and rats have always seemed to be sneaky, evil creatures to be avoided.
Beyond that, I am much more private about my fears and I think that the same is true of most adults. Some of us fear death while others see it as another, perhaps peaceful life chapter. In the same sense, some of us fear dependence upon others while some have confidence that either they will not arrive at dependency or that those closest to them will provide support in a manner that preserves dignity and respect.
Much of our willingness or unwillingness to discuss our fears depends on the person listening. We’re not going to tell our neighbors about our most private and sensitive thoughts as much as we do our spouses, children and best friends.
I believe that it benefits us and those closest to us to ponder both our fears and our most sincere hopes. For instance, I hope to return to Europe for a visit to some specific locations, especially in Italy. But I don’t spend my energy on being afraid that I won’t get there. Along the same lines, I fervently hope that my recently completed book will be published and then purchased by those who can best benefit from it. But I refuse to be afraid that its publication will not come to pass.
As I feel is the case with many negative expenditures of time, fear of anything doesn’t work toward anything positive or desirable. In the classroom, I comfort children who are afraid because consolation is what they need most. Adults with fears – redirect that effort to predicting positive occurrences. The more you plan for them, the less you need to fear that they won’t come to pass. Shalom.