Feel The Fear

Our daughter Madison is fearless. Well, no one’s entirely fearless and that might be dangerous anyway. But in general, this kid, who is now 22 years old, is pretty much fearless. Was that way as a child and is still that way now. And I admire it. So does my wife.

We’ve got snakes. She catches them.

Ever seen wolf spiders – yeah, the big guys! She’ll snag ‘em and used to “play” with them, too!  She always did and probably always will. Praying mantises, crayfish, maybe even Hellgrammites (though we’ve never tested that) – no match for this girl!

And much more important, Madi’s not afraid of people either. Never was. She’s in the millennial generation – the texting generation – and yet, no problem getting on the phone and dealing with a “person” – to order pizza, schedule a doctor visit, call the mechanic, or deal with financial aid – none of it intimidates her. I’m not even big on that last one! She’ll talk with a stranger as quickly as the neighbors, she’ll hold any baby, she’ll get to know everyone at the nursing home, and she’ll make fast friends with any special needs child she meets.

Generally speaking, we know they’re relatively harmless situations (bugs included) – most of them that is. Yet, to many of us, they can all be pretty scary. Why? What do all of these things have in common? I believe it’s about a lack of control – fear of the unknown.  Most of us have a low tolerance for ambiguity. Yet that’s where the fun is. And the learning. And the growth.

My personal lesson is to become more like Madi. I want to be me but work through my “silly” fears by emulating her tolerance for uncertainty. Perhaps she’s just less about herself and more about them – the people, and yes, the bugs! And that keeps her mind focused correctly.

Maybe that is the secret. To be others focused. The more we’re focused on others, the less we’re focused on us. And perhaps, at that level, we’ll be less intimidated by the ambiguity. After all, intimidation is internal and about how we might be perceived. Won’t have that if we’re not thinking about us.

By the way, if you need a creepy crawly removed from your house, give Madi a call. She’ll take care of it, and no one, not even the spider, will die!