I still think there is a possibility that there is a shark in any swimming pool I go into. There is this small nervousness of going in the deep end and not being able to touch bottom. This past weekend I was able to help a friends son swim around for the first time in the deep end. There was a lot of nervousness and fear but we took steps towards the ultimate goal. He swam around in a float, walked around the edge, hung onto me as I waded in the deep end, practice floating, and swam back and forth in the shallow end without touching the bottom. By the end, he swam in the deep end and was jumping off the diving board with no fear!
Over the years, we have seen an increase in youth who are worried, anxious and fearful of the world around them. As adults we get to help youth to deal with and overcome these paralyzing emotions. Here are some ideas that have help me work with youth to overcome fears and worries.
I try to take their fears seriously, even if they aren’t that serious. By validating their fear, you are able to acknowledge it and begin the process to move past it.
Communicate with youth about when you were able to overcome your fears and the result.
Take baby steps and don’t push them past their comfort level. Create a strategy together of what those steps look like.
Be close to them as they work through their own worries. We all are capable of pushing past our comfort zones when we know someone bigger has our back.
You may even be in a season of worry and fear. Who can you connect with to help you overcome those feelings?