When I was three one of my favourite stories was “The Little Engine that Could.” I WAS that Little Engine and my parents took full advantage of the fact. When my little legs gave out on our long Sunday walks my Mum would chant: “I know you can, I know you can.” I would reply: “ I think I can, I think I can.” No, Mum would say, “I know you can.” So I would skip on trying to keep up with my Dad’s striding pace.
Competence was a very big deal in my family. We were expected to handle situations most kids would find daunting. When I was six, for instance, my sister fell and cut her head open on the curb. We had no car so my Mum relied on me to run four city blocks, across a busy street, buy the medicine, and return with the change.
“So what,” you say? “ That was back in the 50’s. It’s more dangerous now.”
I’m not so sure of that. We lived in a west coast city known for its port – there were plenty of drifters and non-residents along the river near our home.
“Okay, maybe you’re right, but what has that got to do with Fear Busters?”
What I learned as a child was that when you feel confident in an environment you are less likely to be afraid.
One of the “Games” we played as teens was: “What will you do if the Russians, or Koreans, or… bomb us?” We all knew about duck-and-cover. We knew about bomb shelters and would discuss how to make our basements safe from nuclear attack. But what really helped bust our fears was that the school taught many life skills: the importance of rotating crops and contour plowing, how to catch water off a roof; how to sew and cook and bake; how to service a car; how to hammer and saw; how to care for a snake bite. The more we knew about how to do the basics in life the safer we felt.
My feeling of security still relies on knowing I can change the flapper in a toilet; put water in my radiator; paint a room; grow a vegetable garden; bake bread; make soup, etc. .
Listen to the news, if you must. But you will be more prepared for whatever lies ahead if you brush up on your living skills. Do you rely on others for your basic needs or self-defense? Do you have basic health and first aid skills?
You will feel safer if you know you can take care of yourself and your family.
Confidence is the fear buster!