Learning to Fear

Posted: March 12, 2009 in Uncategorized

I grew up in a smallish town in Northern Kentucky, near Cincinnati, Ohio. We lived in a small apartment on the second floor in a nice suburb until I was 7, then we moved into our first house. The apartment building was skinny and tall, with a tin roof and porch across the back.

Rain falling on a tin roof has got to be one of the best noises in the world. I remember how I used to sit on the rolled up carpet in the little room where my mom ironed and listen to her talk between the raindrops hitting the roof. The only thing better was going outside and watching the storms, which we often did, sitting on the steps just off the back porch. Mom, dad, and I would watch the rain fill the backyard bird bath, listen to the thunder roll through the darkening skies, and watch for the lightning in the distance. Dad would even try to capture the lightning on camera.

I loved those days. And I grew up with a deep respect and love for the “darker” part of nature. I knew it as a natural, normal part of our existence and still have those feelings today.

This weekend, I spent some time with a 7-year-old who had such anxiety about the impending rain that he paced back and forth between the windows in the house, staring at the skies, with a look of worry on his face no child should carry. Thunder brought tears to his eyes, and finally he sat, sobs overcoming him. I so wanted to gift him the calm and peace the rolling thunder brought me, but he had learned to fear that sound. He had come to associate it and the accompanying rain with something negative and unnatural.

How is such damage undone?

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