The Fearful and The Fearless


The world can be a real scary place. So before leaving this blog post, can you leave the door open and the hallway light on? Thank you.

Last week my wife and I went to the Reel Rock Film Festival and it was tremendous. The films were great and the subject matter was phenomenal. The footage was epic and the feats awe inspiring. And it left me with a question, where does our fears come from?

In the films I watched men and women climb sheer rock faces, tackle snow covered peaks, and slackline over thousands of feet in the air. Yet most people find themselves terrified of things and sometimes those fears can be irrational.

In an earlier post I talked about our trip to the North Shore of Lake Superior and how my wife kept telling our son that if he wasn’t careful he could hurt himself or worse. I, of course, added my twisted humor to the situation but I noticed that over the course of us correcting his behavior and warning him we were introducing him to a fear that we had, a fear of hurt and loss.

Somehow every little hill becomes one of these

Several years ago I watched my son tumbled down the stairs, he was only a toddler and he feel down 12-15 stairs sideways. I witnessed it with my eyes and I was so far away I couldn’t stop it. I quickly picked him up and checked him over for obvious signs of trauma. I held him and cradled him comforting him as he cried. He quickly recovered and then took off giggling and running. I sat in the chair and wept. I was afraid of what could have been a horrendous or fatal outcome.

I’ve experienced loss. From the loss of the full use of my legs and back, to burying a spouse and then my stillborn daughter. So the thought of my son being hurt frightened me and those fears were planted into him. On that same trip he was afraid to go canoeing even though the day before we went paddle boating. His mother was afraid of how the boat was rocking since she took the bow seat and he grew fearful.

While we were climbing last weekend (see previous post) he was afraid of climbing too high, never before had I ever seem him afraid of climbing too high. I read an article (which you can read here) that said our playgrounds have become too safe for children.

Pardon? Can you repeat that please?

Yes…..TOO SAFE. Our children are developing unnatural fears and as parents we’re not allowing them to explore and experience the bumps and bruises that we did as children. Maybe it’s because we’ve become a hyper-aware society because of the technology of hyperspace. It’s a good thing we are discovering all of this now, because who knows what would happen to the human race? How could they survive without all this knowledge and safety measures. (<—- Heavy sarcasm since the human race has been faced with numerous challenges and yet we’re still around)

I think you're safe to go outside.....wait where's your helmet?

So with all of that being said where does that leave us? What are we to do.

I know that safety measures need to be followed. My wife and I are taking up climbing and in doing so and failure to follow safety protocol is a failure to desire to perpetuate your life and to meet an untimely end. However it doesn’t mean that fear should grip us and allow us to not experience our lives to the fullest and venture out into new areas, to try new things. Or in my case, try old things that scare the Nutella out of me.

Almost twelve years ago I was involved in a terrible snow skiing accident. It nearly took my life and almost took the use of my legs. it eventually took my career in the military along with other activities I used to do (running, soccer, etc) but I refused for it to take the love of the outdoors from me.

And I think it’s time to regain a hobby I’ve always wanted to get back, but was so afraid to do. Hitting the slopes.

Um....Can you show me the bunny slopes please?

My balance is off and I think skis might be too hard for me now, but I’m thinking a snowboard might do the trick.

This year my wife and I are going to try snowshoeing so I might not hit the slopes yet, maybe not this year, but…… I don’t think it’s too far off.

Categories: Climbing | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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