Nothing to fear except fear itself

So let's talk about fear. Yes, I have written a few columns about fear and how fear is used by authoritarians to control the people. A society that lives in fear is one that is more likely to go along with their leader and possibly do some atrocious things. We see it everyday. Some people fear all Muslims, because of the acts of a minority of extremists. You may recall after 9/11 then President George W. Bush enacted a goofy color code which served to do little more than cause people to worry and keep them in a state of fear.

It seems as though the best way to combat an authoritarian regime (like the one we are finding ourselves in today) is to simply not buy into the messaging. Yes, the world is, and always has been, a dangerous place. Those who fare the best are those who refuse to succomb to fear. Here's a case in point: There are plenty of kids today growing up fearing all kinds of things. Kids are vulnerable to the fears of their parents. Fear is handed down from parent to child; unless it's not.

Our daughter showed up at our place with her two kids last Thursday. A couple of weeks ago her six year old daughter had a "Camp Out" at her school. My granddaughter, Thyra Grayce, and her dad, Danny, slept in a tent that was pitched on the playground. It was Thyra's first time sleeping in a tent. She did great. Dad probably didn't get much sleep, but oh well.

Upon hearing the news of the "camp-o-rama" I thought it might be a fun idea to buy an inexpensive tent, pitch it and have it ready upon her arrival in Vermont. Sure enough the tent was a big hit. Kids love tents. That night I had a performance in Massachusetts and left my wife, Alison; a.k.a. Gaga, to fend for herself with the G-kids. Thyra immediately decided she was going to sleep in the new tent all by herself. The adults didn't take the plan seriously. There's no way a six year old girl is going to sleep all by herself in a tent in Vermont. She'd be terrified to be out there alone, right?

Thyra Grayce is a rather strong-willed child and insisted that she sleep in the tent. Gaga had informed her that a bear had been seen in the neighborhood recently thinking that would discourage her for sure. Thyra was not to be deterred. "Do you have any pots and pans, Gaga?" she asked. It was pretty clear that this young lady was committed to sleep in the tent alone.

Gaga; a.k.a. Alison, went out to check on her around 100 p.m. As Gaga approached the tent she could her the clanging of pots and pans. "It's only me, Thyra" Gaga said. Once inside the tent Gaga told Thyra that it was midnight and that maybe she might want to come inside. Thyra was having none of it. She curled up into a ball inside her sleeping bag and declared that she was going to sleep, which she promptly did.

When I returned home all the downstairs lights were on and there were solar lights around the tent. I had no idea what was up so, of course, I turned all the lights off. It didn't matter as the young lass was sleeping soundly in the tent. She never heard me drive in. She didn't leave the tent until 7:30 a.m. the following morning; rather well rested.

I told her she was very brave and that I was proud of her. I said that I probably would've come back inside because I would've been scared. "I wasn't scared, Bob-O (it's what she calls me)."

I had my pots and pans. Maybe that's all we need to deal with our fears.

Bob Stannard lives in Manchester.


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