Sunday, July 07, 2013

Parenting, the fear of failure, and my failure…

Some of you may recall my challenge 2 years ago when I was trying to help Tonka get over her fear of going down the slide at the pool.

Your advice then was: “back off.”

Well, I’ve failed on that one.

On Friday, July 5th, the girls had camp, so Paco and I decided we would go to Six Flags and have a “guys day.”

We went on a roller coaster and some water slides. Then, we confronted the “Tornado,” which meant we would be in a tube, do a decent sized drop, and fly up the wall on the other side.

When we got to the top—and there was no line!—Paco said he was scared.

I wanted him to confront his fears. I told him….”it’s ok to be afraid, it’s not ok to be paralyzed by fear.”

It may sound melodramatic, but I have a nagging sense that if I let him (or any of my kids) let fear stand in their way, that it will become a habit.

Frankly, I don’t have much patience for adults who can’t get over irrational fears.

At its essence, this is one of my core fathering responsibilities, in my opinion.

We had a 20 minute stand-off at the top of the ride.

He was crying, I was tense. I tried to cajole, empathize, threaten, force, and bribe him…eventually, I lost and we walked down.

Honestly, I felt like a failure.

Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. Maybe next year he’ll be fine.

What I don’t want is a 25 year old son who can’t get over his unnecessary fears so that he can accomplish what that of which he is truly capable.

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