Fear is a self-imposed prison
One of the people at the beach today with me was a 16-year old. She was having a great time collecting seashells but expressed a lot of fear about the possibility of running into Portuguese Man-of-War which were very abundant today. We had a brief conversation about the difference between fear and respect. Respect their presence and you’ll be okay. Fear their presence and you’ve put yourself in a prison. Fear can be paralyzing.
To help clarify, I told her the story of how I almost drowned in a river many years ago. Ever since that happened I haven’t been able to swim. It took me many years to be able to get my head under water lying in a bath tub. Some years after that I was finally able to get under water in a shallow pool. Every once in a while I take it a step further. I’ve been out in the beach but still was getting very nervous with anything over waist-deep water and needed to have someone by my side to get my head under water.
Time to practice what I preached. I decided to face my fear again and started walking out into the water. I was able to get chest deep in water by myself and let the waves crash over my head repeatedly. I almost threw up the first couple of times but then I said a short prayer and calmed down. Wash-rinse-repeat several times.
Finally, I walked back to shore to see if the message had been accepted. We both walked out to chest deep water and spent time punching the waves as they came at us. We decided to call this “knocking the snot out of the ocean”. My fear was very, very low and my respect for the ocean was very, very high. Neither one of use had any concerns over the Portuguese Man-of-War that I’m sure were floating past us just below the surface.
We have all heard the expression about actions being stronger than words. This is especially true when the younger generation is counting on us to set the example.
We were all teenagers once, and some of us still are at times. We know first-hand what they are going through. We know what they need from us. Don’t Let Them Down. Not Now. Not Ever.