Monday, September 4, 2006

Fear, the generational curse.

I never thought of myself as afraid. At least not until the last year or so. That's when I started realizing that I had put all my dreams on hold, not becuase I had to, but because I was afraid. I wasn't just afraid of failure, I was afraid of success! I had heard of this phenomenom before and never really understood it. Now I know. I have started many educational and business endeavors over the years, always quitting just shy of completion or realization of any success. I used the kids and finances as excuses but I have learned that they were JUST excuses. I just didn't know what I would do with it when I completed it. Success would mean that I had to commit. Success would mean that I would have to put what I had gained to use. I have learned that while I enjoy school and would really like to work. It's just not something I want to commit to doing the same thing all the time or sticking to a schedule. I have an artists mentality even though I am no artist. I love raising my kids and following whatever whim I wake up with. But I am truly afraid of being tied to any one thing. If I were a guy, I'd be labeled shiftless or worse. I can get by with some level of respectability as a homeschooling mother. I love the flexibilty of following bunny trails. I love having the excuse to learn myself, without having to commit to pursuing a degree. I love not having to stick to one single area of study. I just wish there was some way to make money with this penchant for flightiness. I am committed however to pursuing my photography with all the creativity and flexibility in scheduling that it promises. My fear with it is the intense competition that comes with the readily and economically available semi-pro camera equipment out there. I am so fearful of this that I tend to withdraw from the photographic community that has so much for me to learn from. I yearn for a mentor, yet jealously guard what I have learned myself. I struggle to push away from these bents in my personality. I do not have youth as my ally any longer, so the younger, up and coming photogs terrify me. Especially when they go off on a tangent about exposure information that I have to really think about to catch it all. I am just really slow when they start throwing numbers around.

Today, we cooked out and had my mother over. She and I began discussing something about her and my grandmother. There was a theme in what she was saying, but I didn't catch it until later tonight when I was talking to my son. He's 12, a 7th grader. I found out about the National History Day last year, too late to participate, so I have been sitting on it till now. Tonight I printed out the info to show him. My son is a history buff. It's right up his alley to do this competition. But I hadn't taken into account one thing. FEAR. My son is deathly afraid to...SUCCEED! Although his, is based on the fact that he would rather die than speak. I can't blame him. While I am not petrified by the idea anymore, I too have always been one to avoid speaking like the plague. But he stutters. He has more of a reason to be afraid. I tried to point out to him that he could do a display or a documentary on DVD, where anyone could do the voiceover, but the thought that if he won, he might have to say something in front of people so frightened him that he wouldn't even consider it. I was terribly dissapointed because I kept thinking about all the fun it would be to do the research. Then I remembered what my mom and I were talking about.

My grandmother was afraid of almost everything, she was always afraid she would make the wrong choices. She was afraid of it to the point where she let my grandfather make EVERY decision. Not that she just submitted to him, but she would not take part at all in the decision process. The result of this was that my mother and her siblings thought of their father as oppressive to her. The girls in the family ended up with poor attitudes about men and a determination not to be "lorded" over by them. The boys all learned to run their households with a hard hand and went through marraige after marraige as the women in their lives would quickly grow tired of it.

My mother was always afraid of sin. Her father's strictness lended in part to this in that she feared God. Not in the respectful way, but in that she saw Him as waiting for her to screw up so he could back hand her. She was so worried that anything she did would lead to sin, that she ended up marrying my father, just to keep from it. They broke up when I was 10.

So now I have passed my fear on to the next generation. It may be too late for me to correct it, but I think I can make my children aware of this so they can combat it. They won't have to wait till they are in their late 30's just to see the problem.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Funny that just yesterday, Pastor spoke on self-discipline which I have already clued you in that I severely lack. So for the next few days, this is going to be my topic for study. I hope to write more about what I learn. It is my prayer that my son is willing to learn this with me and maybe even open up to the idea of stretching himself.