Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Facing Our Fears

the anti-bee get up
I've written before about B's fears, specifically stage fright.  B has many fears but the longest term one has been bees.  He is so afraid of being stung that he will get all covered up just to go outside.  I'm talking sweatpants, a hoodie and gloves.  In Texas.  In May.

As a result of this fear, he usually asks me to go outside and watch him walk to the neighbor's house.  I don't understand it.  Am I there to jump in front of a bee if it stings him? Am I there for moral support?  What is the point?

I guess I was feeling a little ornery Sunday afternoon because I told him no, I would not go outside and watch him walk next door.  This lead to a show down of epic portions.  I didn't really mean it to but once it started I was committed.

I told him I'd watch him out the window but I would not go outside.

I tried to explain to him that there was a very low probability that a bee would sting him.

I tried to point out the flaw in the idea in the first place.  How could I possibly save him from the bee anyway?

He was really upset.  I was amused actually. He comes up with some great lines when he's desperate. He cried.  He screamed, "I'm just a young boy! How do you expect me to go out there?"

This showdown went on and on.  He put on his sweats to cover up.  I thought he was going out.  Nope.  Still wanted me to go out and watch him.

There really was no reason that I couldn't go outside and watch him except that it was ridiculous.  But once I put my foot down, I figured I better see it through.  I knew it would help him in the long run.  He can't be trapped by his fears.

After a while, he gave up.  He stomped off to his room to find something else to do. I decided to take a nap.

Fast forward to yesterday.  After school B decided that he wanted to go hunt for critters.  Again,  he wanted me to go with him.  Again, I did not want to go.  Again, he puts on his sweats.  More begging ensues.  I tell him "I'm not interested in catching critters.  If that's something you're interested in, you have to do it.  I will watch to make sure you're safe but I don't want to catch or touch bugs or small animals."

catching bugs
Then all of a sudden, he's out on the sidewalk catching bugs.  Yes, in his sweats, in May, in Texas.  But he was out there without me having to be right by his side.  He caught 2 bugs and came inside to show me.  Once inside he realized he hadn't got any grass to put in the box.  So he went out all by himself to get more and pick up a beetle for good measure without even batting an eyelash!

After listening to everything he knows about his new bugs and sending a picture to his buddy, I pointed out what he had done.  "You faced your fear, buddy.  You went outside by yourself and you didn't get stung!"

He didn't really respond.  He just kinda looked at me like 'duh, of course I did'.  It didn't seem like a big deal to him anymore.

Most of our fears are like that, don't you think?  In the moment they are huge and overwhelming.  You think there's no way you could possibly survive it. You lose sleep. You over analyze. You drive everyone crazy obsessing over it.  Then you do it and it doesn't seem like that a big a deal at all.  

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