Parenting Solo: No Fear PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michelle Greenlee Harris, Columnist   
Friday, 15 February 2013 18:09

I realized this morning that the boy who sat behind me in second grade was right. He used to pull my hair and tell me I was weird. Who knew the kid was on to something?

I admit to "weirdom" because I waffle between feelings of unlimited potential and paralyzing fear. I question how these polar opposite emotions can coexist in one person. "Where did they come from?" I wondered. Then it hit me – good ole’ Mom and Dad.

I know my folks are to blame for me feeling like I can do anything I set my mind to. Don’t misunderstand, I know that I don’t know how to do everything. There are many, many, many things I don’t know how to do, but for some strange reason I don’t let that slow me down.

What does stop me dead in my tracks is fear. I hate that. For me, fear is a four letter word. Oh wait a minute, I guess it’s a four letter word for everyone - but you know what I mean.

Fear is formally defined as a belief that someone or something can cause you harm. To me its better described with a couple of a-words – anxiety and alarm. But the biggest a-word I have for it is - annoying. Fear causes me not to try many things and it keeps me in a state of panic about the things I do try.

I can’t really put my finger on how my parents contributed to my fear. I actually don’t remember when the fear started. I was always afraid of my father’s booming voice. It crushed me if I disappointed him. I think that scared little girl never outgrew that fear of disappointing people.

Of course I’m not mad at my folks. They gave me a lot of good things. I appreciated the booming voice I inherited from my dad when I started my career in radio. I’m sure I got my love of writing from my school teacher mother. My quick wit came from a combination of both of them.

I guess that’s what really scares me as a parent. We only want to pass on the best of ourselves to our children. But many times we pass on more than we intended. I get images of my daughter starting off therapy sessions with "I remember when my mother……".

There goes that fear again. I can’t be so afraid of what I’m doing wrong as a parent that I stop focusing on what I’m doing right. Therapist, life coach and best-selling author, Martha Beck, recalls in an article I found on Oprah’s website some advice a hockey playing friend had given her. He told her never to look at the goalie. "Look at the space around him" he said. "Where your eyes go, the puck goes." That’s pretty good life advice too.

Hmm... whatever I focus on in life is what I’m going to get. If I focus on the best my parents gave me, then that’s what will grow. If I teach my daughter to do the same then she can use the best parts of me and her dad to make her life better. #NoFear