Is it even possible to raise a fearless child? To create an early childhood environment that supports the idea that life is inherently good, people are generally kind, and that there is a Universal source of unlimited power that lovingly supports you in living out your own true purpose. These were the constant thoughts that returned to me regularly during my pregnancy. The underlying question remained constant; how do you raise a fearless child? I wasn't sure how it was possible but I knew it was my duty to do everything in my power to give it a try.
My first opportunity to test this theory came when my then four-month old son had his first hard-hitting cold. It was heartbreaking and a little scary to watch him struggle to breathe through his stuffy nose and hack through his heavily congested cough. Still, I knew his body was doing what it was supposed to do. The challenge, how do you let a four month old know that his body was healing itself? I knew he would get better soon; though his getting better couldn’t come soon enough for me or my husband. This was a chance for me to teach him to be fearless in the face of discomfort. It was his opportunity to learn to trust that things would be better. Even though I couldn’t explain it to him verbally, I could let him know through non-verbal communication that he was safe and that he would feel better soon. I held him close, kept him as comfortable as possible with lots of fluids and soothing steam sessions, and cooed softly in his ear over and over that he would be okay.
In the end, it all came down to the common sense, the best thing I could do was stay calm, supportive and refrain from filling his personal space with unnecessary worries or fears. There were no midnight runs to emergency when he spit up more than usual, or mad dashes to the pharmacy for prescription strength cough medicine, or panicked pleas to the heavens for miracle relief. Instead, I decided to take my own medicine, I needed to overcome my own fears. To raise a fearless child I have to be fearless in the face of life's obstacles, I have to show him that it is safe to trust our bodies, and that in the end things will turn out okay. The good news was that as I expected he was soon feeling better and even his cough quickly began to wane.
Soon as he began to play gleefully in his little walker at my feet, it became clear the cold had officially passed and he was no worse for the wear. I like to think, hopefully, the lesson that life is good, he is safe, and I will always be there came shining through in the end.
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