Our youngest child is fearless. Quite a few people have asked us, “Is it Nature or is it Nurture?”
“I am born this way,” Georgina insists. “And it’s the way I am bringing myself up.”
As her parents, we would say, born this way or not, these are the reasons why she is fearless:
- A stable and happy home. It is so important for a child to know that he or she can easily take a little step back into a protective safe haven anytime when the going gets too tough to manage;
- A beautiful and carefree childhood. I recently posted about scientific research on cortisol damage sustained in childhood and teenage years that has lasting impact throughout a person’s life. Cortisol evokes a fight-or-flight response in the human body and after long exposure, a person just gives up at the first hurdle;
- Time to grow fully. If you rush a child, you might produce a child who looks good on the outside and who exceeds his or her developmental milestones, but what about the neglected insides? I posted yesterday about the 17-storey building in Taiwan that collapsed because some of its beams were reinforced with TIN CANS instead of concrete (though the building looked good on the outside before it toppled over).
I think fearlessness is important and I define fearlessness as that British bulldog tenacity to face adversity unflinchingly. It’s about not being a coward running away because one has been slapped once.
Here’s Georgina. She had been hit HARD on her head during an international football tournament. She got to her feet, fought valiantly to stand up before collapsing when the injury overcame her. She did not go down at the first hit and nor did she bail out though she had every reason to.
Someone on the LifeGO.me Facebook page lamented that modern relationships do not last these days and my very strong view is that relationships don’t last these days partly because it is acceptable now to give up and run away from problems at the first sign of difficulty instead of soldiering on trying to fix a problem and work towards a solution.
This is how my children’s father taught our son Jack how to develop the British bulldog tenacity:
Jack is 24 years old. He is exuberant, over-enthusiastic and excitable. At Christmas, his father gave him the money to buy a Jensen Interceptor, a British classic car. Now, here’s the piece: Jack’s father is not a rich man. He gave Jack the money out of his hard-earned pension savings to buy the Jensen whilst he himself drives around in his late father’s secondhand car (his father had been dead for 5 years).
Anyway, after the purchase, Jack found out that it will cost a whopping £65,000 to restore the car before it could be driven. I was furious, absolutely furious. But Jack’s father just shrugged. “A lad’s got to learn, don’t get angry at him.” He told me very firmly not to give Jack a hard time over his bad investment.
“It’s just money, it’s not worth ruining our relationship over money,” he said. “It’s not important.”
But miraculously, Jack got his money back. Or rather, his father’s money. I wrote about it here, this amazing story of a father who believed in the best of humankind.
That all happened in December 2015, Jack’s lesson.
Then in February 2016, his father gave him the money to buy ANOTHER Jensen Interceptor. This one.
“Are you crazy?” I exclaimed. “You had a lucky escape once, but are you stupid to do it the second time? Buy him a bloody BMW.”
“How else am I going to teach my son to try and try again without fear, without losing his spirit?” he demanded. “No, he needs to get straight back in.”
Maybe Jack wasn’t born with the fearless constitution of his sister, but Jack has a fantastic father who is teaching him how to be strong and fearless in the most loving way possible. Yes, it can be taught, with the right parent – not with anger and harsh words but with softness and kindness.