I cringe when I hear stories of teachers or parents telling their children never to be afraid. I feel that this is so wrong. For children it is confusing and, in my opinion, harmful to teach them that they should not have fear. To fear or be afraid is an emotion, and to have emotion is human.
However, we live in a society where we do not know how to process our emotions. If we do not understand something, we ignore it or disregard it. We do not allow ourselves the time to process it and, ultimately, understand it. Conversely, if we can understand it, then we no longer have to fear it. This process does not avoid fear, rather it seeks to understand what fear is.
Truth be told, most fear is based on the unknown. We are afraid of what could or might happen.
As a child, I was afraid of the dark because I could not see what was there. I was afraid of what MIGHT be there, not what was actually there. It was my own imagination or ideas put in my head by some scary movie. But once I turned the light on and I could see what exactly was under my bed, I was not afraid anymore. We have to help our children to “turn on the light” to what they are afraid of instead of simply telling them they shouldn’t be afraid. This is how you work through fear.
A common misconception is that a good martial art instructor teaches children how not to have fear. It is more accurate to say that a good teacher will teach how not to be controlled by fear or how not to let fear determine what you do.
During classes at the HwaRangDo West L.A. Academy, our kids sometimes face a situation that may cause some fear or anxiety; fear of making a mistake, fear of standing up and defending themselves. I do not remove them from these situations. I purposefully place them in these positions so that they may have the opportunity to face it.
I also tell them it is OK to have fear, but do not be controlled by it; charge forward and do what is right in spite of fear. Afterwards, we may discuss exactly what they were afraid of, so that they understand it. In time, they learn how to identify the fear when it comes up and, since they have a better understanding of it, they tend not to be afraid at all. And even if they are, they learn not to be deterred from their goals. This is the lesson that we truly want for both ourselves and our children; to be fully human and live life to the fullest, to feel and be aware of our emotions while not being controlled by them.
This is the part of parenting/teaching that is necessary, a place where our future generations can learn not to detach from their emotions but rather to work through them to reach their full potential. This is how we empower our community and change the world, one person at a time.
If you wish to sign up your child for a special Free Session at our Martial Arts Studio, click below and fill-in the form. One of our instructors will be sure to reach out to you and schedule a session…