Today we visited somewhere I’ve been countless times before. It is a treetop walk; various suspension bridges high over the rainforest floor. And along the way there is an optional ladder up higher into the canopy to a viewing platform.
I’ve been up there before with not even the slightest hesitation but today, I wasn’t sure I could do it. And then my daughter was keen and she needed somebody to go up with her and I went up, shakily. I was terrified.
It was new fear but it was completely genuine. Even though I had done this before, it felt different today.
Because our awareness changes. Our balance between risk and reward changes. Our perspective changes.
Our fears change.
When somebody comes with a concern; my child could do something and now they won’t, I think of all the times in my life that I have done things and then not and then maybe I did again. Aren’t we all constantly assessing and reassessing?
Babies and toddlers are focused on the present. Their fears are based on the immediate. And the reassurance and comfort they request and require reflects that.
So what is happening when a young child has moved past the fear of certain actions only to have them reignited?
They’re becoming conscious beyond what is currently occurring to all that might possibly occur. And they require just as much support to process as they might have when they were younger.
Just because something felt comfortable yesterday, doesn’t mean it will today; people are continually absorbing new information and using it to reexamine situations from new contexts.
A baby and a 5 year old might both be afraid of the dark but the fear comes from very different motivations.
A baby and a 5 year old both need your support just as validly.
The most worthwhile thing you can do is see the child in front of you.
Not their age. Not their past. Not their projected future. Not your hopes or fears or expectations. Not what is most convenient. But them. See them so that you are able to meet them where they are at, where they deserve.