Why Brave and Scared Can and Should Exist Simultaneously

As children move through their day, much like adults, they experience a multitude of emotions. As adults, we often model the idea of having only one emotional response at a time. We do this without thinking about it, by asking children questions like:

  • “How do you feel?”

  • “Do you feel sad?”

  • “Do you feel happy?”

While these are not negative questions, they imply that we need to choose one emotional state of being. We do this throughout our routines, and it’s something we typically don’t even think about. If you read my blog from last week at https://enriquecfeldman.com/blog/ you’ll see a very similar blog for you, the adult. I highly encourage you read that sometime very soon. It will give you a much more profound understanding of this particular blog.

When we model the embracing of only one emotional state of being at a time with children and youth, we limit their social-emotional growth, which is a critical part of living a high quality of life. I ask you to consider modeling the embracing of multiple states of emotion, because this is what we really feel. Questions much like the ones below would be one way to introduce this concept to younger generations.

  • “Are you feeling many emotions?”

  • “Are you feeling more than one way?”

  • “Can you draw/paint for me all the ways you’re feeling?”

If we pay attention, we’ll see this natural mixed emotional state of being played out daily. For example with young  children playing outside:

  • I’ve seen a child want to jump off a swing, and jump off the swing.

  • I’ve seen a child want to jump off a swing, and not jump off the swing.

  • I’ve seen a child jump off a swing, who did want to jump off the swing.

I encourage you to share theses scenario with your fellow teachers and parents, and have an informal chat about:

  • Describing the multiple state of emotional being with each swing situation.

  • What do each of those situations have in common?

  • How are they different?

  • What are some key variables related to your response as a guide for that child?

For our youngest generation... for ALL generations, we need help them reconfigure what they deem possible. When they feel scared, and if they are used to only being able to feel one way, they will remain scared. If they have been shown that they can be brave and scared at the same time, their chances of overcoming their fear are much better.

Embrace the entire emotional spectrum in yourself and in your children.