Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Is fear a genetic trait or a learned response?
I watched a little boy push his truck to the top of the driveway and let go. A huge smile appeared on his face as the truck gathered speed and raced down the driveway. As the adults scrambled to get out of the way he ran down the driveway to get the truck and do it again. This scenario went on 3 or 4 times before the little boy decided to sit on the truck and ride it down the driveway.
His bare feet pointed downhill; barely half an inch above the blacktop of the driveway, with his eyes wide open and that ear to ear smile on his face he raced towards the street. Luckily one of the adults managed to grab him and the truck before he got to the street.
Once was not enough, he ran to the top of the driveway and rode down one more time. This time his mother grabed him and carried him home kicking and screaming. It seems he wasn't born with fear and he hasn't learned what actions might cause him harm.
This young boy reminds me of my own daredevil youth but lets hope his childhood requires fewer hospital vists. My childhood included surgery at age 5, concussion at age 7, broken wrist at age 8, broken ankle at age 9 and a broken collar bone. Video games had not been invented and the TV had three stations so most of my youth was spent playing with other kids in the neighborhood.