It is so interesting for me to dig back and reread these 20-year-old columns. It’s fun to be reminded of the things my kids were saying and doing, and to recall my own struggles and fears and know how far I have come. The first fear expressed in this column from 1998 is fear of speaking in public. Now, as a public speaker, I don’t even remember having that fear.
But some things stay the same. At the end of this column, I quote Psalm 27:1 and call it my mantra. A few short months ago, I started my first doctoral level class. We were asked to share a scripture that would help us through the obstacles to come in this four-year intensive online program. I shared the same verse that gave me courage when I left home for the first time, when I became a parent, when I went through divorce, decided to leave a secure job for the unknown, and now embark on earning a doctorate.
I hope you enjoy this flashback. And please, share in the comments what helps you move through your fears to find victory on the other side of the battle.
A Child Shall Lead Them
I’ve heard it said that children “inherit” their parents’ fears. If that is true, the real Geoffrey Taylor and Jeanna Elizabeth Alexandra Cooper probably will become subjects of a switched-at-birth-made-for-TV movie.
So far, my children show no signs of fear of speaking in public. At a recent trip to the doctor’s office, 3-year-old Geoff kept the entire waiting room entertained with tales of “The Magic School Bus,” “Kratt’s Creatures,” “Arthur,” “Bananas in Pajamas,” and “Barney.”
They show no concern for what others may think of them. Last week 23-month-old Jeanna walked up to a stranger in the bank and informed her, “I’m Jeanna. I’m pretty!”
Financial worries are alien to them as Geoff begs for Matchbox cars from “the Wal-Mart Car and Gum Store,” and Jeanna continues in her baby adopting endeavors.
Fear of bodily harm completely surpasses them as their fingers and toes web together and gills sprout behind their ears.
As they perform somersaults and mid-air flips, jump from counter tops and slide off of desks.
As Jeanna shouts, “Higher, higher,” and pumps her legs in the “wing.”
As they hug, kiss, and pat every dog, cat, lamb and goat they see.
At the end of eighth grade, I had my first “panic attack.” I stood in front of the “enormous”Torrington High School and begged Christ to return before I was forced to encounter such fearsome obstacles.
I was certain I’d be taken up in the rapture before I had to face the frightful four – high school, college, marriage, and childbirth. In just 11 years, I succeeded in all four, and the only downside has been those extra 30 pounds I still blame on my children.
Before I left home for a large college in Florida, I discovered a verse that has become my mantra. Psalm 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
My husband and I tell the kids that they have nothing to be afraid of because God and Jesus always are with them and protecting them. God says “fear not; for I am with thee,” (Isaiah 43:5a).
Maybe Geoff and Jeanna have more to teach me in some areas than I have to teach them.