I asked her several times if she was sure she wanted to do it. I’m sorry to say I even tried to talk her out of it. And she not only said she wanted to every time I asked, she said ‘of course’ she did, as if not doing it was the silliest concept she’d ever heard.

So race day came and we stood at the starting line about to set off on a 5K that would take us across a 34-hundred foot long bridge over a river, down two more miles of highway, then back over the bridge. In 90 degree heat. In July. In the subtropics.

As the starting horn sounded she took off like a bullet, stopping to take a break only after making it up the 55 foot incline and down the other side to the one mile marker. We walked off and on through the next two miles but my 6-year-old’s spirit never skipped a beat.

I can’t describe how proud I was of her and how sad I was that I had tried to talk her out of it.

I didn’t start running until I was 38. And it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But I pushed through, partly because I wanted to be an example of strength and perseverance for my kids. And on this race day, I felt like I might be succeeding just a little bit. Now I need to work harder at not screwing it up.

Kids are born fearless. That’s why they take death-defying leaps off the couch and later diving boards. They don’t understand fear of failure or of embarrassment. Fear and self-consciousness is something they have to learn.

I for one hope that’s a lesson my kids take a long time to learn. And I hope I can arm them with enough resilience to conquer it when they do.

3 comments on “My Daughter Was Born Fearless – I’m Just Trying Not To Screw It Up”

  1. Hey Tracy, I think that this is such a great message. It’s so important to give our kids room to flourish and not be so quick to assume what we think they won’t like or what they can and can’t do. I’ll definitely have to pay attention to this with my own children. You’ve just got to be bursting with pride and awe for your daughter. What a great girl. She wanted it and went for it. I love it! Btw, I can’t seem to find a like button. Maybe my computer is still screwing up?

    • Thanks so much for the kind words. I am so extremely proud of her. I wish I could be half as fearless as she is.
      I just changed my site over to a new host and theme. I’ll have to look into the like button. Thanks for the heads up!

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