Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Someone told me again today. I should teach my son to fear. Revere? I asked. Respect? No, they said. Fear. A little fear is healthy.
The context doesn't matter. I've heard it many times. Fear strangers. Fear injury. Fear failure. Fear the other.
Fear God. Fear authority.
Fear me. His father.
Sometimes people actually say "fear" -- I am shocked, every time -- but sometimes, they only imply it. Better to fear injury than to be injured. Fearing parents means you obey them. Fearing the stove keeps you from being burned. Fearing gods saves your soul. You have to teach him to be afraid of something, don't you? You're not going to just teach him to go up to the whole world and ask it what's up, now, are you? What if THINGS HAPPEN?
Really, I can think of no more soul-crushing experience than fear. So yes; that's exactly what I'm doing. He'll know fear in his life, and I'm sad just knowing that. It's a natural, visceral reaction to evil or tragedy, I think, and it's understandable. But it should never be a strategy. It should never be a decision. I will never teach him to fear. For as long as possible, I'm going to keep him from really knowing fear. If I screw up everything else; I'm really, really proud of doing this one thing. It's not about being brave. It's about being alive.
Go on; change my mind. I'm completely serious. Tell me one single instance in which fear -- not caution, not prudence, not revulsion, but fear -- is the way to go. I'll make an exception.
You can't, can you?
What's up, world?