Monday, December 11, 2017

Overcoming A Fear or Two

My son came home from school with news.  It seems that he was the top of his class in Geography.  We didn't know that Fourth Grade had Geography in the curriculum, but we congratulated Zane on a job well done.

There was more, however.  Zane was one of a group of kids who would be competing for the honor of representing Saint Monica School in the regional contest.  This was a big deal, Zane said, his voice a bit off.

"Are you going to have to get up in front of the other kids?" I asked him. I knew that Zane was anxious about standing up in front of a bunch of people; he had refused to try out for plays, and spelling bees gave him the heebie-jeebies.  He gets that anxiety honestly from me. 

Zane answered that he was going to do the Geography Bee, even though the idea made him nervous.  He then asked to call him Grandma.  I dialed the number and handed him my phone, whereupon Zane told his Grandma all about the Geography Bee and the big prize of a trip to the those Islands where Charles Darwin came up with his big theory.  Once he finished with Grandma, Zane asked to speak to his Grandpa and told him the same story.   He asked both of them to come on Friday to watch him in the contest.  I was listening, and Zane sounded excited.

He hung up the phone and promptly started freaking himself out.  He wasn't too sure about how he would do in front of all those people.  He might forget everything he ever learned.  What if people laughed? Each 'what if' is a tiny paper cut in the mind of a person with anxiety, and Zane is no different.

Larry and I told him that we loved him, and as long as he tried his best, it was all good.  These events require more courage than most of us think about. Larry and I knew Zane could do it;  he had to believe it as well. So we listened and encouraged and hugged, and when the big day came, his grandparents were all in attendance. Zane did not win, competing against kids in 4th-8th grade. He brought home his certificate and showed it with pride.  Larry and I cheered for him. 

My wish for Zane is that he tries this again, now that he's seen what he is capable of.  He may balk, but I'm goin to encourage him to try. There's a spelling bee coming up soon!


  1. He is a cutie!

    A trip to an island off South America, that is quite a prize. There is a piece of me laughing hysterically on the inside when I think of an eighth grader appreciating such a trip. I went with a group of eighth graders to Europe. The kids basically gossiped and played the whole trip. A trip to the lake would have been as educational. We, the teachers, could have taken the money spent and truly enjoyed Europe.

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