In Tulum, while swimming at the Jardin del Eden (Garden of Eden), there was a young Mexican-American family who were enjoying the cool, refreshing waters of the cenote. The family consisted of 3 children and 2 moms. At this particular water hole, there were different points where you could jump off the cliffside into the deep. The family did a jump together, but the youngest boy (maybe 6yrs old) was reasonably afraid just before this first jump. But his sibling, cousins, and mom were able to convince him that it would be fun. So he eventually made the 15ft plunge into the blue-green waters.
In the water, after the jump, they were all wading around in the shallows where we were hanging out. I heard one of the moms speak, in Spanish, to the young boy about the jump. I found it really interesting. Now my Spanish isn’t the greatest, but if my translation is correct, then her words of explanation were some of the best I’ve heard from a parent.
She said something to the effect of… fear is like any other feeling you have. It is natural. It is how you handle it that matters the most. When you feel hungry, you eat. When you feel cold, you find warmth. When you feel tired, you sleep. When you feel sad, you cry. When you feel happy, you dance. Y cuando tiene miedo, tiene que tener cuidado - when you feel afraid, you have to be careful.
What a great way to make your child understand the feelings he’s having. I’ll be keeping this in mind for when the time comes that I have to explain the same to my child...