In my ‘real life’ I’m a teacher. Having just brought back a party of children from their first residential trip, during which they undertook a series of adventurous activities, I’ve been thinking a lot about courage – and fear.
One of the boys, utterly fearless when faced with a 40 foot high zip wire, ran away screaming when he spotted a spider in the dormitory. A girl got stuck into everything with huge energy and enthusiasm but wanted the light on at night, as she was scared of the dark. Another boy’s nightmare, having tackled an obstacle course, an army style rope net and hitting an ace at archery was the food: he couldn’t find anything on the menu he liked to eat.
What was most fascinating was how these young people faced their biggest fears. One boy overcame his horror of heights and climbed up the abseiling tower. A homesick girl got through it with encouragement and comfort from her friends.
I happily careened down the zip wire (twice!) but was put off from going into the shared teachers’ lounge by some unfriendly staff from another school. All those memories of being excluded from the ‘cool gang’ at school came flooding back. I was twelve and nerdy all over again.
Oh – how our fears stop us from doing things! What am I most worried about at the moment? The fact I still have two unfinished novels. Anyone got any tips on how to overcome the fear that they might not be very good and get them written?!