Educating Out Our Fears!

17 Jul

Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out. ~Karl Augustus Menninger

I like to joke that each of us was born perfect and then our parents get a hold of us. But the more I joke about it the more I realize the truth behind the humor.

They say that babies are born fearing only two things; falling and loud noises. That means that every other fear we have was learned. But who taught us?  And here the answer is simple; we learned from those closest to us. Our parents, siblings, other family members, teachers, coaches, classmates and even religious leaders.

For most of us, these individuals taught us with love who and what to fear. They wanted to protect us. And so they taught us what to them was the “truth.” But hidden in those lessons were their own fears, doubts, insecurities, prejudices and even bigotries.

I have a nephew, a wonderful young man, who has an intense dislike for homosexuals. It’s almost as if he is two different people. On the one hand, he’s a great husband, father and businessman. On the other, he’s a bigot. One side of him I love, the other I detest.

I know where my nephew learned his hatred. Not from his parents, but from his grandfather who taught him why these people were “bad.” He loved his grandfather, and so he accepted his grandfather’s hatred as his own. After all, his grandfather wouldn’t lie to him, would he?

Just as my nephew learned to hate homosexuals he can also learn to be more accepting of the LGBT community. But only if he wants to. Like everything else it must begin with the desire to change, and as we know, change is never easy.

But think about this: What would the world be like if each of us took a hard look at our own fears and prejudices and decided to change only one; from hatred to love and acceptance?

With love,

Michael

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