Who Decides What’s Scary and What’s Not?

People are fearful. Our antiquated lizard brain has helped keep us alive through fear for thousands of years. Here are some of the most common phobias:

Social phobias or self-consciousness in social situations.

Agoraphobia:  fear of open spaces.

Acrophobia:  fear of heights.

Pteromerhanophobia:  fear of flying.

Claustrophobia:  fear of enclosed spaces.

Entomophobia:  fear of insects.

Ophidiophobia:  fear of snakes.

Cynophobia:  fear of dogs.

Mysophobia:  the fear of germs.

There is really only one of the above that is somewhat valid. Let’s just say very few people die from open spaces or insects or snakes. Mysopohobia is the most legitimate of the above, as germs really do have the power to make us sick.

That doesn’t mean we should be obsessive compulsive about washing our hands 200 times a day, but that does mean we should model and emphasize hand washing for our kids.

But fears of walking skeletons? This is something we learn, either from Halloween haunted houses, parents or friends. Surely you don’t encounter one of these regularly:

Okay, so maybe a skeleton lurching down a parade route is a little creepy to my grownup mind, but to a toddler or a young child maybe it’s fascinating and fun. And it is. This is a giant puppet being pulled and orchestrated down the center of a closed busy street for a theatre’s annual Mayday Parade.

Our thoughts become actions and if we don’t think something is scary–say the dark–then our actions won’t show fear and our kids will be less likely to think the dark is scary, too. So if I think this puppet is scary and then jump into a bush to hide, chances are my kids will too.

Or if every time I turn out the lights, I make scary noises, say the boogeyman is going to get you and jump out to scare my children, well of course they are going to associate the dark with scary thoughts.

One of the most difficult concepts for me to swallow in Christianity is the idea that God doesn’t make mistakes. That in putting my trust in God’s will I have nothing to fear. Everything has a purpose and just to believe in J.C. guarantees a room in heaven for me. Really? That’s all I need to do?

As a father, chances are good that my son is going to make mistakes. No, scratch that, he will make mistakes. Or maybe my daughter won’t be the person I envision her to be. Does that mean I’m going to love either of them any less? This idea that God has made them as they are supposed to be helps me calm any fears I may have.

There are many reason to be afraid. Just give me some idle time, and I’ll gladly come up with some. But if I can hang on to my faith and focus on the spiritual, well, maybe I don’t have anything to fear at all. Definitely not the dark or walking skeletons

Fear of failure? Maybe failure is a good thing? Ask a successful business owner how many times they’ve failed.

My goal is to keep my fears away from my kids. Lord knows they’ll come up with enough of them on their own.

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