Fireflies: March Reflections: Facing Fears         

Feb 29, 2012

March Reflections: Facing Fears

A local plant nursery has a butterfly garden. Thinking our 3 year old grandson would delight in this experience, I talked to him about it and away we went. Judah's delight lasted about four seconds, until several butterflies flitted within inches of his head. This normally "look out world!" child became rigid, clung to me and began crying to go home. Just as the words, "There's nothing to be afraid of" came to mind, I stopped myself.  All of a sudden I was the child, facing a spider with a fly swatter, hearing my dad say those words. I knelt down. "Judah, let's find just one little butterfly all by itself, ok?" I stayed crouched down at his level and we crept around until he saw one small "barfly" barely moving on a leaf. For several minutes we watched just that one tiny creature. I asked him to tell me how he would explain to his mommy what it looked like when he got home. He relaxed and talked until it darted off.  With trepidation, Judah still clinging to my hand, he took a small step and spotted another "barfly". Though still not completely confident, his moment of terror had passed. In celebration, we bought a "barfly" cookie cutter at the gift shop before heading home.

This month I want to talk about fear. Growing up with two sisters, I was the "girly-girl" - afraid of spiders, the dark, big dogs, worms, monsters, thunder, camping... The words, "There's nothing to be afraid of", and "That little thing is more afraid of you than you are of it", still ring in my memory. So when God (who must have a sense of humor!) gave me and my husband 4 sons, I learned to mask my fears with a brave face - except for spiders! But I found out even little boys have fears, and those fears are very real. Instead of uttering in exasperation, "There's nothing to be afraid of", let's help our children understand how to face their fears. By providing them with coping skills, they can attempt to conquer difficulties throughout their lives. In Steven Kellogg's book, The Island of the Skog, a band of mice face an unknown fear, which gets out of control.  They had to learn to talk to each other, to trust each other. Sounds pretty simple, but I think that sometimes the simplest solution is often the best.
Mary Byrne Kline

Talking with those we love and trust about our fears often brings healing, relief and peace. In the next few weeks, you'll be reading book reviews about three of my childhood fears; a monster, the dark and thunder. You may be surprised at how to overcome them - all you need (besides our books), are a kite, an umbrella and a cake! Happy reading! And don't forget to enjoy the beautiful "barflys" along the way...

[Additional Fireflies March themes - Kites & the Wind]