Learn to embrace things that scare you

Many parents fear to discuss their emotions with their children because they fear to appear weak. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Our generation has been accused of over-parenting and yes some parents go overboard. Many parents fear to discuss their emotions with their children because they fear to appear weak.

There is no better teachable moment than right now as children sit their exams. As candidates get ready to discover whether they can measure up, they are looking around for something they can believe, something that can strengthen them during the next weeks.

I believe this is why many schools now hold dedication services; the words your children will hear the next few days will be stuck with them for the rest of their lives.  I hope for everyone’s sake they will be life giving words. 

I still remember my dedication as far back as primary school. I can still see my classmates and I sitting in the church pews looking very solemn indeed. The reverend father, after blessing us invited a parent to give us some words of encouragement. She too, looked as solemn as we felt.

She told us that our parents too, were as anxious as we felt because they too, would be judged by our results. She urged us not to disappoint them and most importantly not to disappoint ourselves because disappointing oneself is the highest point of betrayal and the guilt never goes away. 

But the most valuable lesson she taught me that has stuck with me all my life was embracing things that frighten me. 

There is no doubt that exams are scary; the thought that someone will be judged by how well they answer one question from all the knowledge they have accumulated is essentially unfair and should scare anyone. But it is also an opportunity to show up and demonstrate who you are.

By embracing every stressful moment with a positive attitude and faith in our capabilities is how we instill into our subconscious winning strategies that serve us through life. Because when we do not embrace those things that frighten us and face them confidently and boldly, we will never get anywhere in life.  

As you sit your exams plan to give it your best, whatever comes after that you will be satisfied knowing you gave it your all.  


Set rules and stick to them, make these non-negotiable such as politeness or civility and honesty. As you set these rules, be sure to obey them yourself otherwise you will be wasting your time. There is no doubt that the next few weeks will be stressful, but that is no excuse to lash out and be rude to your teachers and your peers.

Many candidates start behaving obnoxiously because they believe they are never going to that school again. But life has a sense of humour, so do not be surprised when you find yourself with the same people on the next chapter of your life. 

Do not be tempted to compromise your values; this is not the time to lose faith in your capabilities. I know some parents will be approached by some dubious characters with questionable exam related solutions for their children, please have faith that you and the school have equipped the children with all the tools they need to succeed.

By interfering in this process you will be saying to them that you have no faith in them. Do not take their opportunity to find out their capability away from them. 

You reap what you sow

The world has proved to us over and over again that what you put in is what you get out. The earlier children learn this, the easier their lives will be. We live in “a quid pro quo” system where nobody gets something for nothing. This is the perfect time to stress to your children that there is no free lunch, someone always pays for it, the only difference is the currency and when they get to pay. Remind your children to manage their time. Time is a very valuable factor that we never recover when we waste it. In the next few weeks, every minute of their lives should be accounted for and put to good use. 


Communication is the key in any relationship. Many parents fear to discuss their emotions with their children because they fear to appear weak. But most times, this will save you a lot of pain if children understand the motives behind some of the rules you give them. 

But as a parent, remember not to guilt-trip your children in order to get them to do what you want. Just make sure there are open channels of communication so your children are able to confide in your about their concerns. Their minds will be less cluttered if they can share their concerns with someone they know will not judge them.

Strive to be like the children

Great parents are aware of the fact that our prior condition is love. It is light. It is happiness. They know that all children come into this world pure, whole and perfect, and because of that they strive to re-become as pure as, as connected and as aware as their children. They strive to be like their children, but they do not try to make their children be like them.

Practice non-interference

Our generation has been accused of over-parenting and yes some parents go overboard. They treat their children as if they have no minds of their own, which has trapped the children into perpetual infancy. Please loosen the leash a little bit, let the children enjoy some independence, you will all be better off for it.

As author Wayne Dyer aptly points out: “Parenting is not about having children lean on you but making leaning unnecessary. They have a compass, let them follow their own compass; freeing you up to be your own person on your own time and allowing them to become who they are to become.” 

Would rather be happy than rich

This is the point where you need to think about the reasons you are investing so heavily in your child’s education. Great parents do not educate their children to be rich, but rather to be happy.

To seek to become men and women of value, not of success, so that when they grow up, they know the value of things, not the price. But the bonus is, once you understand the value of things around you, success will come easily to you. There is this wonderful quote from legendary musician John Lennon that explains where we go wrong as parents and educators.

 “When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”