Let’s help chil­dren to con­quer fear

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - Neville Wester­man Brynna

WHILE some may find them­selves fac­ing the im­mi­nent fear of death, due to cir­cum­stances which they could not read­ily have imag­ined, only a small mi­nor­ity are in a wholly dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion where duty or courage forces them for­ward, like po­lice­men or the young French­man who scaled the ex­te­rior of a build­ing to save a child.

The me­dia fre­quently present such news in a mis­lead­ing fash­ion: “There was no time to think be­fore he acted.” The ex­pres­sion may be due to mod­esty or mis­un­der­stand­ing, but it can­not be ac­cu­rate. It is a fact of bi­ol­ogy that our brains have been pro­grammed for self­p­reser­va­tion. That is hard­wired, and it re­quires some fac­tor even more pow­er­ful to over­come that safe­guard which Mother Na­ture has built in.

It is im­por­tant ev­ery child has a clear un­der­stand­ing, be­fore he or she be­comes an adult, to reach a full com­pre­hen­sion of the in­ter­nal con­flicts of adult life. There are help­ful fac­tors such as train­ing, which are in­valu­able to help the pro­fes­sional fire­fighter con­tend with the fear which twists his guts when the sit­u­a­tion ap­pears to be get­ting out of hand. But our ac­tions depend ul­ti­mately, be­yond char­ac­ter, upon the be­liefs in our minds. That French­man made a choice about which pri­or­ity he be­lieved in.

I suggest the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem is re­mod­elled to con­tain el­e­ments such as out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, through which ev­ery child, at their own pace, can learn how to con­quer fear it­self, which takes many guises, and might re­turn in old age.

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