Sunday, April 5, 2009


Last night, we did a picnic dinner at Peaks View Park. People were everywhere, like ants pouring out of the anthill, because of the great weather. After dinner, the boys ignored the state of the art playground equipment and decided to climb the pine trees. Nature's own play ground or just channeling their inner squirrel?

My son, Cole, is fearless, and I am not sure if this is a good thing or bad thing. Certain fears are healthy and keep us safe, while others tend to keep us too safe. For instance, while standing on top of the 15 foot climbing wall (which is only about 3 inches wide), please hold on with your hands...I would consider this a good fear. Being afraid to try something new, speak your mind or believe in yourself, bad fear.

How do you teach a 4 year old the difference?

My hide and seeker partner from yesterday's post, Logan, had a birthday party to go to this afternoon. A couple hours before the party he said he no longer wanted to go. He was not sure he would know anyone there. Ultimately he decided to go. I think it had more to do with the 25 foot inflatable monster truck than anything I said, but he had a great time. We had to drag him kicking and screaming from all of his friends.

Growing up, we were always told not to talk to strangers. While this protects us, it also creates a fear of anyone that is new or different. Back at the BK play place, rule #5 - If you see anything strange tell the manager immediately. Doom on the 35 year old man stuck in the tubes playing hide and seek.

Where do we find the balance between good fear and bad? How do we live in that tension?

When our neighbors are presented or present themselves like this guy, but we are called to love. What does that say those that have been raised that abortion is bad, who stand outside the clinics raining verbal stones on backs already broken by circumstance? Fear. If we don't drive "it" out, it will corrupt the rest. "It" being that which is different. We create concentration camps for that which we fear, yet find ourselves trapped inside.

It was a beautiful day for a picnic, people everywhere...


Cinnamon said...

'channeling their inner squirrel'- LOL!!

You are pensive today. There is a lot to think about here. I don't think you can teach a 4 year old the difference between good and bad fear- that is why children need concrete rules- 'Father knows best'- until such time age and experience help them to make judgements.

Children need very clear instructions about 'strangers' in order to keep them safe. Paedophiles are very clever. They know how to talk to children. And they do hover around playparks and public events.

Yet is it very difficlut to strike that balance- we want our children to grow up confident and self-assured, not immobilised by fear.

And as for us adults- 'fear' is probably the main impediment to our growth into 'fully alive' people.

Ah, not sure how to express myself- you said it all very well actually!

Brian Miller said...

@cinnamon....actually a well thought out comment. true in regards to kids (and those that prey upon them). as well as how we adults use our fear or let it control us.

Candie Bracci said...

You have raised an interesting point here.Very well expressed.Not easy to find the right balance.

Brad said...

How is the book coming along? loving the posts!

Evening Light Writer said...

perhaps there is a difference between being fearful and cautious? My mother always kept us close, too close I felt sometimes. I was always jealous that all my other cousins got to run all over creation and I didn't. Of course I have quite a few scars less than they do. I don't know, I think that is the tricky thing about being a parent.

Your writing is just so lovely!

Megan said...

Excellent questions, all.

Ronda Laveen said...

From what I read here, I think the 35 year old man stuck in the tubes knows a lot about the difference between good and bad fears. I think your balance will be observed and felt by your children.

Marianna said...

That is a throught provoking post you have up there Brian!

I had a talk with my students the other day (ages from 12 to 15) and we figured out this: be involved, don't let others decide for you, get the whole picture before making up your mind on something. The incentive for this talk was a movie about the 2nd world war that we saw.

I say we need to listen to and talk to young people and children. They have a LOT to say and brings arguments, arguments bring conversation, conversation sharpens our judjement :-)

take care
peace and love

Brian Miller said...

@evening...have a few of those scars
@ronda...ty...hoping they catch it by osmosis through the hugs
@marianna...great comment. love the fact that you were talking with your students, they have some good insights here. very practical and things many students seem to graduate without. your last sentence, marvelous! my new mantra!

Baino said...

Sorry Brian a little late getting round to this one. As far as playframes and outdoors activity, I think kids need to experience a little danger. The worst they'll ever get is a sprain or a broken wrist but with stranger danger? We actually have a school campaign here to teach children to be guarded. I frankly never let mine out of sight until they were old enough to make a judgement call on their own.

Mrsupole said...

Very tricky thing to give them freedom but not too much. You have to learn to stand at a distance to keep them safe, but at the same time let them explore. This is the best way for them to grow their gut instincts. Then you also have to talk to them about how they felt and what they experienced and in doing so you can guide them to the right ones. Coddling them too much, teaches them to fear everything. Let them spread their wings and fly, just keep the safety net under them.

God bless, sorry I too somehow missed this post. Am so glad I found it. Glad you had a beautiful day and picnic.