There is an air dehumidifier near my bedroom and not long ago, my one-year old nephew began to be scared of it when he hadn’t before. It turns itself on and off, depending on the humidity in the room, and beeps when the water it collects needs to be emptied so perhaps the sounds or machine starts/stops were what was scaring him. I’m not quite sure because he went from being fine with it and touching it to suddenly taking the long way to stay away from it or clinging tightly to me, especially if it made any noise at all, whenever he was near it.
So, one day, when we were playing by it, I tried to show him he had nothing to fear. I touched it and tried to get him to touch it with me or at least get closer to it. And slowly, he did start getting closer. Then, the next time we were near it, I did this again and he got closer and I noticed he would point at it. And though he stayed right by my side, he was intrigued by it. He started looking it over and briefly touched it. Then, the next several times he got braver and began touching it more and more, checking out all the parts of it and soon, he realized there was nothing to be scared of.
Today, he was hugging it.
As I watched this brave little one-year old conquer his fear, I felt proud of him but also slightly embarrassed at how long it has taken me to conquer some fears and that there are still some I haven’t touched. He got me thinking about how something is scary because it’s unknown or evoked panic but with courage and curiosity, that which once looked scary becomes something you can hug.
If only we were all as brave as this one-year old.