Why do we as a society teach our kids that it is "okay to be scared"? As a someone who spent her entire childhood and adolescence in constant fear it really bothers me when I hear one of the cartoon characters of any show teach my girls that it is okay to be scared. Even into being a young adult I was scared of so many things and believe me, it was not okay. When I got home late I used to run to unlock the building door and then run up the stairs to my apartment with my heart beating at 190 rpm from fear of someone grabbing me and all the gory stuff that could happen from that. I used to be afraid of the dark, of silence, of strange noises, of shadows, of being alone, of meeting new people, of being in a strange place, of having to order my own food, of people thinking I didn't know what I was doing, of dying in some strange way, of being rejected, of being made fun of, of people realizing I didn't have a clue, of people walking behind me, of the woods, of sharks, of looking underwater (even through the television), etc. I was afraid of LOTS of stuff.
One thing that helps me not be afraid so much is limiting my consumption of television and all the fear that it brings in our lives. Whether from the police shows, the zombie shows, the horror movies, etc, I no longer watch them. I used to really love watching CSI for the science behind the show, but when I started being afraid that someone was going to climb up our building to the second floor and somehow enter our apartment, I decided it was time to stop.
I don't think it is okay for our kids to be scared and I am putting my foot down on banning cartoons that say otherwise. The other night, after placing Firecracker in bed, I came back to my room where Queenie was and found her in a ball on top of my pillows. She had her hands at her mouth and she was staring straight at my window.
"Mommy, look, it is like a face."
I have to say that my heart skipped a beat until I realized that she was talking about the lace-like decoration above the window outside. Granted, with just a small amount of imagination, there is a part that looks like mask. I laughed, but she told me it was scary. I walked over, opened the window and said, "Look, it is the part of the window that makes it look pretty on the outside. There is nothing to be afraid about because wooden decorations are not scary, okay?"
Queenie giggled and nodded her head. I have done this a few more times, each time she tries to tell me that some inanimate object is scary. I try to pick it up, touch it, do whatever is necessary to show her it is not okay to waste energy of being scared of that object. Because it just isn't okay. The energy wasted, the almost heart attacks, the blood draining from your entire body over a cat getting caught in your fallen WEEZER poster, it just isn't worth it. It just isn't okay.