My oldest son is one of those types of people that is fearless. He'll throw caution to the wind when given the chance. Occasionally worry, fear or doubt will bubble in him but even then, like Barney Stensin from "How I Met Your Mother," his inner voice will say “Challenge accepted.” For him, everything is worth a try at least once because you never know, you might like it.
Me on the other hand? Not so much. I’m a worrier and live very cautiously. So you can imagine what was running through my mind when my son started reading to me about a great snorkeling spot he wanted to go to an hour away from our Hawaii duty station. See, I don’t like driving and really don’t like swimming with ocean creatures. Those are things he usually does with my husband, who isn’t here.
I started thinking of excuses to get me out of it, but he looked at me with a twinkle of excitement in his eye and pleaded with me.
I knew in that moment I needed to conquer some fears. Not just for him but for me.
In this crazy military life we can often have fears that hold us back. Fear of leaving the base, fear of meeting new people, fear of looking for a job and being rejected -- AGAIN!
But, how are those fears good for us? Aren’t we missing out?
The simple answer is yes, we are.
Letting fear dictate our lives can keep us from discovering all sorts of great things -- like a new favorite food or hobby or even the joy of bringing life into the world.
But overcoming fears can make a world of difference. It can help us through long deployments. Knowing nothing can hold us back allows us to live life to the fullest. Our spouses want us to be happy and LIVE, not just stay home waiting for the day they return.
Conquering fears can help you live a successful military life. It will empower you and make you feel like you can take on any challenge life throws your way.
We owe it to ourselves to the let the Barney Stensin inside of us to come out, to feel empowered by knowing we can do what seems impossible. It makes us stronger and in return more confident. And that bleeds over to our children to give them confidence and strength, too.
And that's why instead of saying a flat-out "no" to my son, I drove the hour to the beach. And because I have one strong swimmer and one not strong swimmer I was forced into the ocean to keep an eye on them.
And you know what? I liked it! The water was cool and refreshing from the hot sun and I got to play and listen to my children laughing with excitement. Had I found an excuse to not go I wouldn’t have discovered that joy in life and I boy am I glad I conquered those fears!
What fear will you conquer?
Kate authors the blog Tips From The Homefront where she shares tips and resources on all things related to military life. She and her husband have been married for over 10 years and have two boys. Together they have been to four duty stations and survived multiple deployments and TDYs. Recently she was named Armed Force's Insurance NAS JRB New Orleans Spouse of the Year 2013 by her peers for her tireless efforts as their Ombudsman. She continues to serve command families as an Ombudsman as well as being a Chapter Coordinator for Stroller Warriors. Kate’s life mission is to ensure that all military families are empowered to live the best life possible while serving in the military through connecting them with the resources and entitlements they need and deserve.