Or maybe I should say fears.
Like any parent—and now grandparent—I do fear the danger our children face “out there” in the world, especially on the road. It’s not stifling, but I’ve expressed it often enough to our kids over the years (now ages 31, 29, 26, 24, 19, 17, and 16) as they’ve reached for the car keys, that they have all nicknamed our residence “WSH”:
Warm Safe Home.
Because, more than once, I’ve been known to say, “Don’t go out! Stay home! It’s safe and warm!”
So now they make fun of me.
On a much less serious note, but still terrifying to me, is this:
Yes, the plant that only Satan himself could have brought to our world! I fear it greatly. So much so, I could never live on the East Coast again.
Karen (her parenting blog) and I grew up in Ithaca, New York. Nice place, beautiful terrain—but possibly the Poison Ivy Capital of the World!
Actually, the whole eastern United States is covered with the stuff. And, yes, I know it also grows in the midwest, probably in the south, too. But, in our 17 years in Colorado, I’ve never seen it. So I plan to die in Denver with my boots on and my Calamine lotion off!
Why am I so scared of a little green plant covered in sap?
When I was 11 years old and then again at 13, I came down with a poison ivy rash that covered my body from head to toe. The itchy-beyond-belief blisters were between my fingers, my toes, and, ahem, everywhere else. 🙂
Then, at 14, I got into poison oak—Ivy’s evil cousin. This time, the rash was concentrated on my face, neck, and ears. The episode was so extreme, I missed the last two days of 9th grade, never to be reclaimed. In fact, one ear was so swollen it pointed outward, perpendicular to my head.
I looked like Dumbo on steroids.
For each of the times described above, the doc gave me penicillin shots, and yet the blistering rash still lasted 7-10 days! I really grew tired of people saying, “Well, it just needs to run its course.”
Anyway, after the bout with poison oak in 1972—I never went into the woods again.
To this day I refer to my foliage fear, somewhat benignly, as “the green stuff”—and each of our seven kids knows that Dad will never tread where there exists … The Green Stuff.
I’m aware that as an adult I’ve missed out on some outdoor fun, but the fear of suffering through poison ivy or oak ever again is overwhelming. It limits me. It stops me in my tracks. The fear is just that powerful.
All because of those childhood experiences.
The good news is, my fear of The Green Stuff doesn’t really prevent me from obtaining any key goals in life. This is a good thing.
But sometimes, our fears do hold us back from “climbing that mountain,” “reaching the summit,” and “being our best”—all that stuff sweaty motivational speakers talk about.
And that is bad news.
How about you? Any fears that are currently overwhelming you, holding you back, limiting your ability to accomplish a critical life goal?
Identifying that fear is the first step to dealing with it—if you want to deal with it, that is. For me, I’ve simply chosen to … stay out of the woods!
Care to share a fear in the comments section below? What fear is holding you back?
A final thought:
Leaves of three—let them be!