New experiences can lead to nervousness or anxiety in our kids. New experiences can cause these same emotional reactions in adults and this, historically, is the case for me. It’s definitely what I’m feeling right now. You see, I’m new to blogging. I’m not new too writing per se. I went to college and wrote terms papers, stories, and the like for a variety of classes. I went to graduate school and wrote thesis papers, research papers, personal evaluations of my academic performance and more, but that was seven years ago. I’ve even written lengthy “opinion” pieces on social media and 140 character pieces on Twitter. But there’s a big difference in my mind between writing the types of pieces I’ve listed above and writing a blog, especially for what I’m sure will be a popular and well-read website like City Dads. All the types of writing I list above were for a limited, generally private, audience and for a specific purpose. In my mind, a blog post is for the public sphere and will hopefully, (and here I’m getting WAY ahead of myself) be read far and wide. That is where my fear lies. How will my personal thoughts and feelings- as reflected through my writing- be judged?
But I can’t let this anxiety block me from starting to blog because I’m a parent. I want to be a “do as I do” parent rather than a “do as I say” parent. My kids, by the virtue of their age, have new experiences all the time, and they’re often anxious about them. The first day of school brings butterflies for all of us: the first day of big kid school, a new building after we moved, new teachers, new friends, and, sometimes hardest for kids, a new routine to adjust to. A new food might look icky or smell funny. That new kid on the playground who walks differently, talks in an unfamiliar way, or looks different from them isn’t someone to be scared of but might be a new friend they haven’t met yet. I try to encourage my kids to see these new experiences as something to not be scared of but rather as a new adventure. How am I supposed to get my kids to believe the idea that new experiences can be a good thing if I don’t believe it AND emulate enthusiasm for them myself? It’s OK to be nervous, but is it OK for that nervousness to prevent them from participating in new experiences? I’d say, in most instances, no.
I get a sense of satisfaction when they try something for the first time and really enjoy it. I see the pride in their faces when they overcome their fear and do something they thought they couldn’t like climbing that rock wall, first with a gentle push and then on their own. I feel happiness when they rush up to me excitedly after their first day at school and tell me how cool their class is and about the new friends they’ve made (and they sure make new friends quickly!).
I want that same sense of satisfaction and pride for myself too. I’m starting to blog to demonstrate to my kids the importance of overcoming that fear and anxiousness for the joy of new experiences. But that’s not the only reason I’m starting to blog. I’m starting to blog to demonstrate to myself that I can overcome my own anxiousness. Is this my finest piece of writing ever? It is a first step though, a first step which will allow me to share my thoughts and experiences with a wider audience and a first step to showing my kids that, even when we’re nervous about a new direction, we can overcome that fear to start a new journey? Who knows where my writing will take me or what it will bring? I’ll never know though without taking that first step.