Last week I got to enjoy a little vacation away with my daughter and her two daughters. We drove to Carlsbad, California and visited Legoland and the beach and the hotel pool.
At Legoland, I sat on a bench and watched my three-year-old granddaughter run around Duplo Town, AKA Pre-schooler’s Heaven. There were various play “houses,” scattered around the area. A barn. A grocery store. A jail. A fire house. The all had a lower level with some sort of educational game (push buttons to hear animal noises, for example) and an upper level reached via stairs and with a slide to return to ground level.
Grand-daughter loved the whole area, but she refused to use any of the slides. I had to hold her hand while she came downstairs, a little salmon coming downstream against all the other kids eager to get to the top and ride the slide down.
The firehouse playhouse had a pole the kids could grasp and slide down. The drop was only a few feet and parents were always nearby to help if the descent didn’t go as planned. With her refusal to even slide, I knew there was no worry my Precious Girl would attempt the pole.
A young man about seven or eight years old did though. He grabbed the pole in the classic grip, one leg curled around the cylinder, the other leg still safely on the solid floor.
“Come on,” his mother urged. “You came down it twice already.”
“I can’t,” he wailed.
Mom rolled her eyes. “Just come on, we’re going to eat lunch.”
At this point, I was needed to help someone down the stairs, so I moved away. A minute later, I returned in time to see the young man in tears leaving the area with his mother. “I can’t believe you wouldn’t just ride the pole,” she said.
He gripped both his arms. “I hate my fear of heights!”
Mom sighed. “You don’t have a fear of heights, Silas. You’ve done it before. You just didn’t want to do it this time.”
Then they were gone.
Then it occurred to me.
I tend to think of myself as a fearful person.
But for a fraidy cat, I’ve done some pretty brave things.
- ridden a bike down a mountain
- snorkeled in the middle of the ocean
- scuba dived
- driven a Segway around a major city’s downtown area
- ridden a horse
- seen a two-headed rattlesnake
- shot and reloaded my own gun
- written several novels
- driven alone into really, really bad areas
- ridden BART at midnight in San Francisco
- lost a parent
But I did them.
And I survived.
So I guess it’s not the fear that stops me from doing/attempting scary things.
I do them anyway. In spite of the fear.
I believe one of these days both that young man clutching the pole and my grand-daughter will figure out how to stop letting their fears keep them from enjoying the trip down the slide or the pole.