Fear is a Good Thing


Because I attempted to maintain discipline in my class room and at times have used confinement, isolation, and corporal punishment(30 years ago) some would say that I controlled my classroom through fear not love and fear according to modern philosophy is a very bad thing while love is always a positive. I would respond that most of our lives are controlled by and  often lived in daily fear of something. I also believe that we learn to control fear by fearing and learning that our actions have real consequences. That we can and will survive and overcome the consequences of our actions.  Controlled fear is valuable when it saves us from injury or is used to control  our inappropriate instincts or actions. Love itself is often tinged with a fear of its own loss.

I feel that too many kids today, having never suffered meaningful real consequences for their actions, live  a life that is virtually fear free. Even computer games now offer do overs or re-starts close to where you failed, as opposed to when they first came out, when you could spend hours getting back (earning your way back) to where you previously lost.  I still have nightmares about level 32 of Lode Runner.   I believe that because some of our children, and too many of our young adults,  have never learned the value of fear or the pain of consequences they often do things that are sometimes cruel, stupid, incredibly thoughtless and dangerous.  Actions that we read about too often in the newspaper or on the internet.

At this point at least some of you are saying to yourself I “Have No Fear.”  I understand how powerful it is to believe that you have no need of  fear. There are a lot of people out of work right now or who are ill or dying,  who used to believe in this mantra but have now learned how to fear as most adults eventually do.   Even if you feel your life is perfect and without fear I would ask why you vote, control your diet, exercise,obey traffic laws, go to church, don’t murder one of your in-laws and etc. ?

At the base of almost all of our actions is controlled or uncontrolled fear of the future, it is a part of our nature.  Fear is good, it is what separates us from our baser instincts and desires and  that keeps us  functional and alive. Learning how to handle fear is a life skill that must be learned by our children not absorbed from society by some form of weird osmosis or learned on the fly by some unfortunate abrupt acquaintance with its evil countenance.  I’ll admit  that it would be nice to live without fear in a clueless euphoric utopia but in reality when I see someone walk by with a shirt that says “No Fear” it makes me want to unexpectedly hit them in the back of the head with a shovel. Because if they live life long enough having,  “No Fear,” eventually,  metaphorically speaking they will probably learn about fear in  exactly that same way.

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About safrisri

I have been a teacher since 1971 and have taught at all educational levels from pre-school to college. My college degree is general science which I arrived at after 5 years and 5 different majors. A degree as it turns out, almost as valuable and in demand as one in Neo-Bulgarian Mythology. I have been around education for around 40 years and can remember when teaching was a pleasant, happy and creative job and our schools were the same. My writings will reflect on my past mistakes and successes and what my students have taught me about education.
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