L.A.W.S. of the Scholar & Warrior
Kenpo Kids Blog - July to October 2020: Bravery #1
Bravery is at the heart of being a warrior because a warrior is somebody brave enough to do the hard things other people won’t and can’t do. To begin with, a Brave warrior understands the different kinds of fear:
Worry and Anxiety -- these are little fears where you’re afraid of something that could happen, maybe, some day. They aren’t likely things to happen. They’re the “what if” fears that sometimes pop into our heads for no good reason but if we let them they can control our thoughts and decisions.
Physical Fear -- these are when you’re afraid of getting hurt. Sometimes it’s a fear that won’t happen, like when you get that funny feeling in your stomach when you’re about to jump off a diving board. Other times, it’s a warning about something that could hurt you, like a bully or angry dog coming at you.
Social Fear -- is the fear of being embarrassed or made fun of. You often feel social fear before speaking in front of class, or talking to somebody you don’t know, or talking to somebody you have a crush on.
Emotional Fear -- is the fear of experiencing sadness, or disappointment, or of seeing other people feel sad and disappointed. Kids most often experience emotional fear when they need to tell parents or friends something they won’t like to hear.
Each of these different kinds of fear can make you want to not do things, sometimes important things. Sometimes you should listen to your fear, and other times you should ignore it. It depends on the situation, and the kind of fear.
Worry and Anxiety should always be ignored. They’re nothing but a mental monster under your bed, your imagination playing mean tricks on you. The best way to ignore worry or anxiety is to take action. Do something. Anything. Just getting busy with something else will make the worry and anxiety go away.
Physical Fear is a warning sign from your body that something could hurt you. Even when it’s a stomach butterflies on a high dive, your body is reminding you that being up high can mean falling, and falling can hurt. If you feel physical fear, stop and look at the situation. Then decide what the best and safest thing to do is. Ask your parents or other responsible adults if you’re not 100% sure. Sometimes that means jumping right the heck off that diving board. Other times it means running away as fast as you can. A lot of the time, it’s something in the middle.
Social Fear is a lot like worry and anxiety because you should usually ignore it. Social fear is worrying that people might not want to be friends with you...and people who would be mean to you or not like you because of a small social mistake aren’t the kinds of people you want as friends anyway. It’s not as easy to ignore as worry and anxiety, though, because social rejection and teasing hurts. The best way to deal with social fear is to have a good group of caring friends around you. They’re like the social version of karate training: great self-defense against social pain.
Emotional Fear is sometimes harder to face than physical fear, because the hurt from grief and embarrassment can last a lot longer than the hurt from a bruise or even a broken bone. But there’s a trick to emotional fear: you experience the pain even before you do the thing you’re afraid of. The best way to handle emotional fear is to do the thing you’re afraid of as soon as possible. That way even if it does hurt, it hurts for the least amount of time and you’ve talked to the people who can help you get through it.
Next month, we’ll look at a special tool for dealing with all kinds of fear. For this month, just think about Bravery and how to use it for all four types of fear.
This month you have a simple, but powerful (and a little time-consuming) piece of homework. Go buy or check out a copy of Gavin deBecker’s Protecting the Gift or The Gift of Fear. Read it, or listen to it on audiobook. There is no better guide for understanding and helping your child deal with fear, and no better way to teach you how than to say “Go Read This Book.”
So...um...go read that book.