I don’t have a lot of irrational fears, just 3.
- Speaking in front of large groups
- Flying (or rather crashing)
I hate snakes, I really do. Out of the three above listed fears, snakes are the biggest. I don’t know how this fear developed, but it did. And now I cringe at even the thought of them. When I’m flipping through a picture book with one of my kids, and I unexpectedly turn the page to BAM, a picture of a King Cobra staring back at me; I’ll jump. It’s a stupid fear I know, but I’m just being honest.
Learning to Hate Snakes
Last week I was pulling weeds around my house. My 3 year old daughter was helping me. She’s a lot of fun to pull weeds with. To date I don’t think she’s pulled a single weed, but she sings me songs and tells me funny stories. I love it.
Like I was saying, last week we were pulling weeds. I reached down and grabbed a particularly big handful of thistles and pulled them up. I glanced down at the great big hand full of weeds and I noticed that one of the weeds was wiggling and writhing in my hand.
That’s odd. I didn’t think weeds were supposed to wiggle. You of course see where I’m going with this. Eventually my brain caught up with my eyes and registered what was going on.
I had a pretty decent sized snake in my hand.
I immediately dropped the thing, looked down, and to my utter horror I saw even more snakes crawling around the exact spot I had just been working on. I let out a yell. Not a scream or a shriek, just a little yell of surprise. I leaped up and grabbed my daughter, and jumped way, way back from the snakes. My adrenaline was surging.
I then noticed my daughter’s face. She was horrified, but not of the snakes. She was scared of my reaction. I’m pretty sure she saw the snakes, but wasn’t afraid of them in the slightest. She didn’t know she was supposed to be. She hadn’t learned that yet.
It wasn’t until I freaked out that she got scared. Now she knows. I taught her to fear snakes. In a quick 10 second blip of time I forever altered her interactions and views of an entire class of animals. In fact, that’s probably how I learned to fear snakes myself.
Enough of my irrational fear of snakes, let’s get to the point.
Last week I shared some quotes about the importance of learning from others. This week I wanted to share how that looks practically.
Like most children, my daughter learned through observation. But, let me broaden that statement a bit. We all learn through observation. Basically, every interaction we have teaches us and every interaction we have teaches others about us. If that is true, than we must be careful of two things:
- Who we observe
- How we respond
The first is pretty simple; who we observe. Like it or not, you will become like the people you spend the most time with. I happen to like that idea because I have some pretty awesome friends. The people I hang out with I do so in part because I wouldn’t mind being more like them. How about you? Do the people you spend time with raise you up and inspire you? They should.
The second is a bit harder; how we respond. I wish I could give you some awesome advice on how to respond appropriately in every situation, but I can’t. I haven’t figured this out just yet. I will say this though, people are watching you. What you say and do matters immensely. You have the power to build up or to destroy with what you say and how you respond. Take that for what it is.
…and be careful next time you pull weeds.