Two words that sparked this topic: “Be careful!”
We got E a pink Power Wheels Jeep for her fourth birthday. She was so excited to jump in the driver’s seat and have all of the control as a driver. Zooming all around ours and our neighbor’s front yard, E was having the time of her life. We took her on an evening ride around the neighborhood, and as she drove on the sidewalk—I found myself saying “be careful!…not too fast….watch where you’re going…” the entire time.
You may not think it’s much of a big deal, but what I realized on this evening drive is that I may be subconsciously training my daughter to be fearful of the bad things that could happen in the world.
Because when I’m constantly saying, “be careful,” what E might be hearing is “be fearful.”
We have a very important job as mothers. To protect our children from harm and prepare them for a world where they can be self-sufficient. We also teach them to be productive members of society, with a strong moral compass. But, what if my fears for the worst end up doing more harm than good?
We live in a time where the news is saturated with tragic events. It breaks my heart to acknowledge that I brought my daughter into a world where safe places are never guaranteed. There is stranger danger, social media dangers, and mass murders happening often and I constantly live in fear of the unthinkable.
But, then I think about my daughter… So untainted to all of the ugliness. Pure and innocent…and oh so very fearless. Why should MY fears hold HER back from exploring a world of endless possibilities?
So, while “be careful” might seem like a harmless cautionary request—when I consider the potential it might have to E’s curiosity and tenacity—I feel a pang of guilt because I want to put her in a bubble and keep her safe her whole life.
You hear about a deep love that you’ll find when you have your first child. You hear stories of this instant, deep and pure love that you can’t ever imagine until the first few moments you are joined with your firstborn.
What you don’t hear about is the constant FEAR you will have as a mother. Fear for the uncontrollable world that we live in. Fear of the unthinkable and unimaginable. Fear of things, events and situations that you won’t be able to protect your child from. Fear of things that I am to scared to type out in words.
I want to let go of that fear. I believe that despite all of the heartbreak and tragedy, the world is really filled with happiness, hope and love if you know where to look for it…
That’s what I’ll teach E to do–look for the love in a world of hate. Look for the light in a world full of darkness. And search for positivity when the majority wants to focus on the negative. It’s a delicate balance of guidance and teaching E about the dangers the world could have, but also encourage her to be fearless in her dreams and passions.
As for me, I’ll have to follow my own teachings and embrace the uncertainty that life presents us with. It puts a whole new perspective on “living each moment to the fullest”.
What are some of YOUR fears as a momma? How do YOU overcome your own fear to let your child truly be fearless? Share your thoughts in the comments!