New Mama Musings

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Fear Factor

As a child I was very timid, always preferring to watch from the sidelines rather than join in. Actually it wasn't so much that I preferred to watch as it was that I was too paralyzed to do anything else. Often I wanted to try something but was scared of drawing attention to myself and possibly looking foolish. I carried this fear with me everywhere I went.

I mention this not to garner sympathy; personally I find it annoying when adults go on and on about their miserable childhoods. It's tiresome. I know that sounds cruel, but there comes a point when people have to accept responsibility for their own lives.

No, I mention it because I've always been in awe of my husband's confidence and ability to laugh at himself. He never seems scared to put himself on the line. Self-conscious, maybe, but never paralyzed. I'm not sure he even understands quite what I mean when I say I was too afraid as a child to try things I really wanted to try. It's just not in his vocabulary.

And I wonder, how much of this is genetic? How much is environment? And what kind of kid are we getting with this baby the two of us have created? Is he a natural born leader like his daddy? Or will he hang back, like me?

No matter his predisposition, I'm pulling for nurture over nature on this one. I'd like to teach him that looking foolish for a moment that everyone else will quickly forget about is much, much better than living with a lifetime of regret.


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