You are currently viewing The Menace of Fear

The Menace of Fear

So. I learned a little something about myself the other day. See – I won’t say I spent my life being fearless, but I have always had a decent set of brass. I was never over the edge crazy, but I recall things like jumping my bike off a barn roof around 12 years old, running alongside a slow moving freight train and grabbing ahold of a handle and jumping on it around 14 years old, and it only escalated from there right up to my sky dive two years ago (which I did not consider fearless, but many friends of mine did). I am a reasonably intelligent man and I always weighed my risks and thought my way through before attempting something; I did not act stupidly, in other words, but I was certainly more brash or bold than many of my friends. But on this day, fear broke through from deep within me and coursed through my body, placing every nerve and muscle on full alert. What triggered it? I took my two grandsons to the beach to swim in the surf.

Laughing at me yet? I don’t blame you for a second dear reader…..I am laughing at myself, a little, right now.

I grew up on the sea, literally with homes in NJ and RI a scant 5 minute walk to the beach. Boats, rafts, beaches, etc. I spent unfathomable hours in and on the waters of the Atlantic. It has always brought me joy to see the water once again. But when we stepped onto that beach and I saw those big waves crashing on the shore, all I could think of was a wave grabbing one of the kids and dragging them under and off and not being able to find them. Horrific. I played for hours – literally – in the surf, heavier surf actually, as a kid their age and I doubt my father was even paying all that much attention. I took my son and daughter to the beach often, and once to the New Jersey shoreline where the surf is often insanely ferocious, and let them play in it while I sat on shore and watched. I’d go in with them and swim for a while, and then get out and leave them in the water, with nary a flicker of fear. But tonight? Almost frozen with the fear of what might happen, what could harm them.

I think a huge of the fear is as I’ve grown older, I’ve grown powerfully aware of how fragile our grip on life really is, and how quickly that link can be broken. And through the years, I’ve heard/read far too many stories of kids riding a wave one second and then lost the next. And each story leaves a mark and adds to the pile, the weight, on your soul of how it could so wrong so quickly. The ponderance of all those tragic tales begins to weigh on you as you age, and coupled with the ever-increasing realization of the tenuous grip we have on life, can result in an experience such as I had on this night.

Of course, when I go to the beach and I watch other swim and play, I do not have any such reaction; not even close. Because they are not my grandkids. Don’t get me wrong, I watch other kids when they swim because I am so aware of how easy it is to be pulled out and under. But not with the choking fear I felt with mine, because of course, they are mine. Closer to the heart as Rush might say. And that changes everything.

Certainly my own children were, and still are, precious to me – my son and my daughter are my pride and joy. But I had them when I was younger (of course) and hadn’t been alive long enough to really know better. I understood undertow and that people sometimes drown, but not my kids; not going to happen. I taught them to be safe in the water and I trusted in that and in them to keep themselves safe. But the older me sees every possible risk and considers each and every one of them as viable and valid. And that is what happened at the beach.

So I tried to look relaxed and calm and happy and never let them catch even the slightest glimpse of what I was feeling. I want them to respect the water, understand how to play safely in it, and how to stay out of difficulty, but to mostly to thoroughly enjoy it without being scared or influenced by my internal demons. But I watched them like a hawk, intently memorizing every head position just before the next wave arrived, calculating where they should reappear once they went under, and counting the heads as they popped up from the froth. Time after time, wave after wave. And they all popped up every time and allowed me to exhale for a moment before the next wave. To transfer my fears to them would be so wrong, so damaging to them. At the same time I desperately want them safe. Like so much else in life, it is all about balance, in this case balancing their fun against my fear.

The protection of our young is a relentless and powerful force in all parents. And as I have written in the past, there is a specific and precise reason that they place “grand” in front of “parent” (or mother or father of course). Not that we are better than parents, far from it; but we take the value, the importance, and the preciousness of our children to a whole different level. It’s frankly why we spoil them (well, that and because we can!). But as having trudged, strolled, toiled, danced, or glided through life for all these years, we have accumulated some varying degrees of truth and facts, sprinkled with a modicum of wisdom and experience. We know things.

It is the embedded in the grand scheme of the universe that grandparents pass along their wisdom, experience, and history. It is how families maintain the thread of continuity of who they are and from where they came. And along with that we need to pass to them our morals, beliefs, tenets, and values. It is not up to us to impose them upon them – that needs to be their choice to decide upon which to embrace, which to modify, and which to discard. But we need to expose them to our belief system so that our youth can examine and evaluate for themselves.

Unfortunately we’ve also picked up our share (or more in some cases) of fears; some well-founded and some unfounded. And those must stay with us and not be passed along. Of all we pass along to our loved ones, fear must remain sheltered within yourself. They will, without a doubt, pick up their own fears as they move through life; they’ll pick up plenty of their own – they do not need ours as well. And so I stood on that beach, biting my lip with every wave and laughing and shouting encouragement to them as they disappeared and then popped up several seconds later. It is how it need to be, it is how it is supposed to be.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Warner

    I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be what precisely
    I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content available for you?

    I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on a lot of the
    subjects you write related to here. Again, awesome site!

  2. Lionel

    Hey There. I found your weblog the usage of msn. This is a very well written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra of your helpful
    information. Thank you for the post. I’ll certainly return.

  3. Duane

    I know this web page provides quality based posts and extra data,
    is there any other site which provides such information in quality?

  4. Mahalia

    I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me
    to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out
    a developer to create your theme? Superb work!

  5. Phil

    It’s actually a cool and useful piece of info. I am satisfied
    that you just shared this useful information with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Lisa

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr…
    well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to
    say superb blog!

  7. Eusebia

    Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed
    reading it, you might be a great author. I will always bookmark your blog
    and will come back in the future. I want to encourage you
    to ultimately continue your great job, have a nice holiday weekend!

  8. Hi there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with
    hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended
    up losing many months of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

    Feel free to surf to my webpage – Far East XL Review

  9. Ralf

    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here
    and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?
    Superb work!

  10. Ketorol Reviews

    Howdy! I simply want to give you a big thumbs up for the excellent information you’ve got here on this post.
    I’ll be coming back to your site for more soon.

    Also visit my homepage – Ketorol Reviews

  11. Vivian

    Its such as you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the e-book in it or
    something. I believe that you simply could do with some
    % to power the message home a bit, however instead
    of that, that is fantastic blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

    Also visit my page Vivian

  12. Krystal

    I simply couldn’t go away your web site prior to suggesting
    that I actually loved the standard info an individual provide to your visitors?

    Is gonna be back steadily in order to check out new posts

  13. Terrific work! This is the kind of information that are supposed to be shared across the web.
    Disgrace on the search engines for not positioning this post
    upper! Come on over and talk over with my web site .
    Thanks =)

    Here is my web blog: Modern Belle Skin Care

  14. Trudy

    Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering
    which blog platform are you using for this site? I’m getting tired of WordPress because
    I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives
    for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  15. Crystle

    This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.

    I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of
    your magnificent post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

  16. Biodermeux

    Hi to all, because I am really keen of reading this webpage’s post to be updated on a regular basis.
    It includes fastidious information.

    Also visit my site Biodermeux

  17. Sparkling CBD

    Hello to all, as I am actually eager of reading this webpage’s
    post to be updated daily. It includes nice material.

    Take a look at my website Sparkling CBD

  18. Lynn

    That is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.

    Simple but very accurate info… Thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

  19. ラブドール

    This blog is really cool and besides diverting. I have picked many useful tips out of this source. I love to come back again soon. Thanks a bunch!

Leave a Reply