How I Taught My Daughter To Be Fearless & Overcoming Anxiety
As a parent, especially a dad, you are always trying to find ways to teach life lessons. Well, I somehow volunteered myself to take my older daughter (12 years old) and her cousin (same age) to Six Flags over Georgia for Spring Break. Every parent understands my struggle with long lines, hot temperatures roller coasters that are probably well beyond my age limit. However, mindset is everything so I channeled my inner kid which is not difficult for me and was hyped!
So, as we are walking up to the scariest ride, The Goliath, my daughter and cousin started expressing fear. They had a full blown conversation about their stomachs hurting, headaches, possibly throwing up if the ride stayed upside down too long. At first, I ignored it but after an hour of waiting in line my vibe was being ruined. I saw the fear in both of their eyes but was resolute that they would recover when the ride pulled up and it was out turn.
Needless to say, my optimism was inaccurate as my little cousin walked right on through the ride to the other side before we even sat down. My daughter tried to follow suit but I stopped her and challenged her to sit down, buckle back up and face her fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 reads, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and love and sound mind," so I decided to teach her this lesson.
At first, she was unsure but realized that I would not put her in harms way. We have been talking about how to overcome fear all year round in her various activities (cheerleading, debate, volleyball. and maybe even being a praise and worship singer) so this was a great opportunity. As the ride ascended, we were both nervous but I showed nervous excitement about having fun. Life is about perspective. Fear can either debilitate you or excite you. Who wants a life with no surprises anyway?
My daughter decided to trust me but held on for dear life until...she opened her eyes and realized that she was having the time of her life! She screamed, laughed and we cried tears of joy because the ride was fast, fun and challenging. When it stopped, she wanted to go again! Meanwhile, my little cousin was disgusted with himself. I reassured him that redemption would come on the next ride, Superman, and he was able to overcome his fear too.
What's the lesson? We do not overcome fear by making it our master. Instead, we practice boldness, fearlessness and faith by believing that we can overcome our fears. As parents, not only must we model this quality but instill in our children. I want my daughters to be leaders and so I will consistently challenge them so they can grow. I learned a lesson too. Mindset is everything and our kids watch us more than they listen so I had to model courage and set limits on fear.
As a result, my daughter's debate skills and volleyball game have improved because she has learned to be fearless. She decided to pause on cheerleading because she wanted to be "the game" versus cheer for it. You know I supported that. However, I lost the praise and worship challenge due to allowing her to have voice...I'll save that for next year lol.
Parents, challenge your children to be leaders and face their fears...the more practice they have the sooner they will learn fearlessness. God Bless!