Parent Bravely: Rise Above Fear and ‘What Ifs’

Parent bravely to raise adventurous kidsAren’t you afraid of alligators?” People often ask me this question when I share that I paddleboard on a Florida lake.

Sure I could let fear hold me back, but I choose to focus on what I’d miss out on if I did. I’d miss out on the feelings of freedom and peace I get from being on the open water. I wouldn’t get to see the beauty of the lake and experience it from a different perspective.

What is life without risks? If we never take risks, we can be trapped and isolated by fear. We won’t grow and fully experience what life has to offer. We have to venture outside our boundaries to move forward.

Don’t Let Fear of the Unknown Motivate Your Choices

As a parent, it’s easy to worry about how the uncertain world we live in will affect our kids. Choosing to parent bravely without letting fear motivate our decisions isn’t easy when we watch the chaos reported on the news.

But don’t let fear win. Don’t let it paralyze you. Don’t let ‘what ifs’ control your life and how you parent. If we want our kids to live courageously and reach their full potential, we have to model courageous behavior ourselves.

Parent bravely and enjoy the ocean with your kidsWhat if you’re too afraid of the unknown to swim in the ocean with your kids? You’ll never feel its restorative powers. We experience life in a fuller, richer way when we choose to live bravely.

What if fear keeps you from allowing your kids to freely explore their neighborhood? What if you don’t encourage them to make new friends on their own? They may grow up isolated, dependent and timid.

What if you’re too hesitant to check in on your neighbor who lives alone? What if that neighbor happens to be going through a rough time and needs help?

Open Yourself Up to the Good

When we choose to live bravely, we lead with our heart. When we lead with our heart, we open up and accept our natural vulnerability, the humanness that connects us all. In that, we can harness our power to make a difference in the lives of others and contribute to making the world a better place.

Making the world a better place sounds like a big, intimidating job best left for world leaders and devoted humanitarians. But anyone can make a difference, no matter how small your part may feel. Even brave kids can make meaningful impacts.

Our world can be a much more positive place if we choose to focus on and contribute to the good. Don’t let fear cloud your view.

Open your eyes to recognize those in need around you. Open your ears to listen to different perspectives. Open your heart to empathize with others, especially those who seem very different from you.

If we can pass these skills on to our kids as we parent bravely, we will be investing in their futures and building a foundation for a less fearful, more compassionate world.

Parent Bravely by Focusing on the Possibilities

Parent bravely to show kids that they hold the world in their handsI understand the worries this uncertain, and often violent, world brings upon parents. I’ve always been a sensitive person, which many people might think makes me more likely to be anxious or fearful.

But while I do my fair share of worrying, I recognize that I learn and grow when I step out of my comfort zone and into new experiences.

So, I choose to parent bravely and focus on the possibilities this world holds for my kids when they’re able to learn through experience and connect with the world.

I’m thankful to live bravely and sensitively because it makes me more empathetic, curious and adventurous. I’m determined to nurture these skills in my life and in the lives of my children. I know that they will help me defeat fear and leave the world a little bit better than I found it. 

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