Are you planting fear?

As South Africans, we might be so caught up in fear that we no longer recognise how many times a day we look over our shoulders. In order to avoid being like the frog who almost died, we need to deal with our fears responsibly.

The frog was in a pot of cold water on the stove when the heat was turned on. However, because the temperature increase was very gradual, the frog was not alarmed and did not jump out until it was almost too late.

Fear and danger are like the water temperature … because we are bombarded with bad news every day, we are numb to danger and fear and we no longer “feel” it. Sometimes we don’t realize we pull our children into the pot of hot water with us! Do your children watch or listen to the news? Does your child hear adults talk about ineffective burglar proofing, alarms or police services? Are they close by when you discuss the latest posts detailing shopping centre attacks? (They generally hear just enough to become very scared and then fill in the blanks with their imagination …)

I told my son about gangs because his sister noticed the painted signs on a wall alongside the road. I told him that gangs commit crimes – especially against other gangs who enter their territory. Much later he came to me and with a very anxious voice asked me whether the gang would hurt us if we entered their area … I realised then that without considering what I was doing, I added another fear to his growing list of things to fear: tornadoes, volcanoes and tsunamis (which I probably shouldn’t have informed him about in grade 0 …). Children’s innocence must be protected more carefully than this. I took a piece of his that day.

Don’t make the same mistake as I did. Don’t plant fear.