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Do you fear?
“Fear. Answer me, are we born with it?” my father asked, his piercing brown eyes looking into ours.
He sat on a white armchair between our beds, telling me and my younger sister a bedtime story. Well, it was not so much of a bedtime story but more of a question he would usually ask and and answer, then wish us goodnight and leave. He claims that we are too old for stories and prefers asking us questions that would `widen our knowledge` instead.
He faced me “Did you know that when you were a toddler, you used to eat ants, play with spiders and carry garden worms(completely harmless to humans) to proudly show your mom and me?” I scrunched up my face in disgust.
“Yuck!” My sister exclaimed, making a face that if compared with a monkey, would have very little differences.
I clearly did not want to believe in what my father had just said, but my life to me during that period in time was a blur so i probably did those stuff he said i did.
“I have photos, do you want to take a look them?” he said in an amused tone when i did not reply.
“Yeach! No! I can bet you i would have have been a much happier person not knowing about such facts!”
He laughed “Ah! But do you not realize? You were born with absolutely no fear. No human is born with fear. Tell me, why do you now fear the spider and the worm you so dearly caressed before?” Once again he waited for an answer he knew he was not going to get.
“It is simply because you now take the worm as a disgusting creature but as a child you saw and classified nothing as disgusting or `adorable`.Same goes for the spider and the ant. You fear it will crawl up and make it`s home in your ears and nose thanks to the television and gossip. Use logic, how many people do you know had this happen to them? None. You did not before know of such things, and in your eyes everything was pure, everything was beautiful.”
What he said did make sense to me, so i uttered not a word to disrupt him. “We fear ghosts and the Boogeyman are out to get us for we were told stories and shown drawn pictures of them. Mere fictions of our imagination.”
Then my sister asked a question, tilting her head slightly to the right “So if we knew no fear, we would be much happier? Then why did God give us the ability to fear?” He smiled.
“Fear is also essential and we learn from it as we grow and gain experience. At the age of four, your mom boiled water in a cup and left the hot water in the cup on the table to cool down. Being the curious creature humans naturally are, you(He directed the `you` at my sister) put your fingers into the water, and as quickly you removed it, then proceeded to cry. Now you would not do the same thing twice, for fear of hurting yourself again, right? If you were dumb, it would be another story completely. So you learn, you fear. There are times when being overly brave just becomes plain stupidity. Thus, we require fear. You do not jump off a cliff for the fear of hurting or injuring yourself, of dying. If there was no fear, we would have shared the same fate as the dodo birds.”
My sister yawned and i strained to keep my eyes unclosed. Father got up and planted a kiss on both our foreheads before walking towards the door. I snuggled under the warm covers of my bed.
”Think, use your mind and you will find answers, for answers are scattered everywhere. It just takes great effort and determination to locate” and with that our `bedtime story` was at it`s end. He wished us goodnight and we returned it in murmurs as he switched off the room lights and left, closing the door behind him as he did.
What he told both me and my sister was no hypothesis, it was a mere statement. Fear, something we are born without but require in order to live, to survive. In other words, fear is just as important as bravery, sadness and happiness. And, like everything else, we gain it as we grow, learn and live.