“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”. So said the great FDR, 32nd president of the United States.
It may be hard to believe, but I have not always been the fearless, debonair, charismatic cross between James Bond, George Clooney and Professor Brian Cox that I am today, with my magnetic personality, devastating smile and sex appeal like the gravity well of a neutron star. Amazing, I know, but there was a time when I was a bit of a… nerd.
When I tried to talk to girls, I would either want to throw up or run away. Maybe both at the same time. Wasn’t until well into my teens that I started to finally overcome my shy-nerdism.
School discos were a terrifying trial by fire. Only other nerdy wall flowers will know my gargantuan internal struggles as I waited for my moment, a moment that most often never came.
Finally, after innumerable agonies, I mostly overcame my fear. In a way I’m glad that confidence was so hard to come by. It made me value it. And want to share it.
At the play group, after the story, all the kids gather for a dance while we all sing a song. My son, recently, has become a bit timid in these sorts of situations and tends to hang on to me. We watch the other kids bounce up and down to the song. This is my chance to give my son the gift of confidence.
“Go on son.” I say.
“No.” He says.
“Go on, go and dance.” I say. “Go and ask the little girl if you can dance with her.”
He gives me a worried look. I smile encouragingly. I’ve seen them hold hands before. “Go on son.” I give his shoulder a squeeze. I nearly quote FDR at him. He smiles back uncertainly. He trusts me. I swell with pride as he goes.
He finds the little girl. I see him ask her if he can dance with her. She replies. He looks at her, confused, then walks back to me.
“She said no.” He tells me, his lip quivering.
I feel his confusion and pain ten fold. I’m back at the school disco. I want to grab him and run away. Maybe throw up too. What I do is smile, stroke his head and say “Lets dance.”. We start jumping up and down together.
The only two things we have to fear are fear itself, and girls.