Fearful, Tearful, Weirdful, and Rise

Fear. I wish I could cut it from my soul with a scissors. I wish I could lay on a comfy couch, talk its existence into oblivion, then charge myself $100/hour. I’d collect my fees and go on a vacation to the beach.

I have an active imagination, so I fear things most people haven’t even thought of. Example: Swings and Things. Everybody else just dons the batting helmets. Me, I think What is the probability there’s lice in there? I mean, how many scraggly heads have been inside that thing today alone? And everybody knows you’re not supposed to share headgear…

How about door handles. Am I the only one who considers the millions of invisible germs crawling all over those suckers? Or speaking engagements. Truly. Frightening. Or posting my innermost thoughts for the world–

You get my point. But I try very hard not to let fear stop me from doing anything. I charge it. Get it over with. The hardest thing is the waiting. A hard thing looms on the horizon and I just want to compress time so I can face it and put it in the rear-view mirror.

My kids have to live with this philosophy. I homeschool them, which you’d think is inherently insulating. And in some ways, it is. Or it can be. Who hasn’t met the socially backward, jumper-wearing, yellow-toothed homeschooler who hasn’t seen a hairbrush since 1995? That’s what I’m working against. I can conjure up all sorts of uncomfortable hard, fearful, tearful, engagements where my little ones’ homeschoolness will be showing, oh yes, and in those fearful, tearful, weirdful moments when they want to crawl into a hole and die (or at least crawl back home into their fuzzy blankets where math problems are their only problems)– in that moment, they get a glorious chance to rise. Rise and face whatever “horror” I set in front of them. Today it was meeting the herd of cross country kids at the stadium, all of whom came from class while my guy stands outside the locked gate (an apt image, as it were) waiting to be let in. “I wish there was just one other homeschooler, so I wouldn’t have to be alone,” he says. Inside I sigh and understand completely. With my outside voice I tell him to embrace this because he’ll be stronger for it.

I’m not a tiger mom, contrary to the opinion of my family. But I am driven to certain opportunities: fearful, tearful, weirdful opportunities at which they can rise and overcome. God help us.

Child: “I hate this. Why do you force me to do x?”

Me: “To prepare you to face a world that doesn’t care about you, without me.”


8 thoughts on “Fearful, Tearful, Weirdful, and Rise

  1. As someone on the autism spectrum nearly everything new makes me uncomfortable, even familiar activities with new people makes me want to go hide in my room. From experience I know that once I actually start doing something that my fears will prove groundless but that doesn’t hush the little voices inside my head that thrive on preventing me from living my life.

    Contrary to what my mother taught me, sometimes it’s okay to tell someone to just shut up, especially when the someone is me.

    1. I’m glad you shared your perspective. Your comment makes me pause. Not every mountain can be moved by sheer grit, and what is ho hum for one person can be torture for another. One of the quotes I love goes: If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do me no harm.

  2. I love your last line. I think this is one of my most favorite things about you. You aren’t afraid to do the hard thing. (Or you are and do it anyway). Your example has challenged me to do the same in my life more than once.

  3. You’re a stellar mom and your kids will appreciate you for getting their minds in the right mind-set. And I hate the stereotypes homeschoolers get, I’ve met plenty social adept, intelligent homeschoolers who could run circles around those in public/private schools.

    As for fear, it is the oldest human trait. Did Adam and Eve not have fear when they disobeyed God? And so many other references, because fear is universal. You overcoming that fear (or at least working through it) shows your kid that with perseverance they too can overcome it.

    Just because you’re afraid, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do the hard/right thing.

    1. Nthato, thank you for your kind words (made me smile) and wise insights (made me think). Yesterday our homeschoolness was on my mind because we had to go to the actual school building for the first time. I have to tell you, it was a positive experience. The superintendent was kind and abundantly helpful. My son did face his fear and came out the other side, smiling.

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