Conquering Fear

Watching people conquer their fears is awe inspiring, nerve wracking, and thrilling. Parents are lucky, in that we can often see these fears being conquered by our children. We have to be paying attention though.

My daughter visits a local playground, and has been fearful of the "uneven steps." She can stand on the first step, but the poles that hold the step are made to wobble, and she clings tightly. She won't clamber onto the next step. She'll stay on the first step, slowly swaying, announcing that this is as far as she'll go.

I've shown her how to walk these steps. I've shown her how to hold the poles, and to step carefully with one foot before crossing to the next step. She's seen others walk these steps too. And yet, for the longest time, she's been afraid to make that first step.

Today, she once again approached the treacherous first step. I wasn't near her. I saw her from some distance away. I could see she was steeling herself for another attempt, and I stopped, holding my breath.

Her first move onto the next step was as timid as her earlier tries, but as I saw her hand tighten around the pole holding the second step, I could sense a certain determination. I slowed down my walk. I didn't want to make her nervous.

Before I knew it, she had made it to the second step. Then with more hardiness, she made the third step, then the fourth, then the fifth. She jumped to the landing with a flourish, smiling. I felt exultant.


When I made it to her, she was very excited. "I did it, Daddy! Do you want to see? I can show you. I can show you how to do it if you do not know how to do it."



I let her show me. She went in the opposite direction. She wasn't entirely at ease, but she had finished it once. She could do it again. She seemed to be walking across each step faster.


When she made it to the other side a second time, I proposed that she do it one more time, so that I could take pictures. This is what you see here. She was pretty proud of herself. She faced her fear, and conquered it. I was glad to witness it.



Rick Umali

July 4, 2006


(This was originally posted on Tabblo, which shut down in May 2012. The content was recovered from backups by Archive Team.)