When we were fearless






“Watch this, Mom.”

We had created a mountain out of gymnastics mats in one of the playrooms at the YMCA.  We had a pile that almost reached up to my chin.   My three-year-old son Jack was standing on top of the pile ready to jump.

“Five, four, three, two, one. Blast off.”

And he was off.  Up into the air and down onto a landing mat.  He did it over and over. Each time he said he was going to go higher and further.  No fear. No worries.  Just a sense of adventure and fun.

Some new kids and another mom came into the room.  Jack got off the mats and went over to say hello.

“I’m Jack, want to play with me?”   No fear. No worries. Just a sense of himself and others.

When did I lose that pure sense of adventure and discovery?   I want it back.

As we get older, we’re less spontaneous.  When is the last time you tried something new or something out of your comfort zone? Or something that gave you a great sense of fun?  Some of us get complacent. Some of us get stale. We stick with tried and true. We stick with safe. We do that with relationships too.  When is the last time you struck up a spontaneous face-to-face conversation with a stranger just out of pure curiosity? I’m talking face-to-face conversation.  Not a social network conversation. Many of us wait to see what we have in common with someone else before we initiate any kind of connection.

I learn so much from my son about the importance of living a life full of plenty of play and curiosity.  And watching him try new experiences gives me greater confidence to try the things that my own “inner critic” tells me I can’t do.

One of my favorite wise souls, Eleanor Roosevelt, once said, We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.

How will you be fearless in your own life?





2 responses to “When we were fearless

  1. That is the greatest quote, and so true. Some of the most worthwhile activities are those that are very difficult or scary.

  2. Nice.
    Here’s a related vignette. I took our boys (3 and 5) to skating lessons for the first time last week. Parents aren’t allowed on the ice, and the instructors don’t want the kids to be distracted looking to the bleachers. So I watched, while trying not to be seen. I was a nervous Nellie, wondering if they’d hate the experience, resent the separation, and be crying for Mommy or Daddy. It looked brutal, from my vantage: falling down, and so hard to get up, especially for the three year old.
    But afterward? They were thrilled! The little one wanted to do it “all the time.” The older one was looking forward to skating like the big kids. As frustrating and hard as it looked, they had a blast.

    My Zen lesson that day? An activity can be fulfilling, without meeting goals, and in spite of falling down a lot!

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