“Our theme this year, 'Fearless', was chosen because it is important for us, especially during this moment in history, to teach our children about fear.”

When most of us were young, we had fears related to the dark and going to sleep. We could imagine a monster under our bed or in the closet. This would often result in us calling for our parents to come and check under the bed or in the closet and maybe they’d turn on a night light to help us feel safer.

Eventually we grew up and no longer feared the “boogeyman” under the bed but that does not mean that we no longer have fears. Fear is a part of life. It is a part of the human experience. It is with us from the moment we are born till the day we pass away. It is an important emotion that has the power to save us or destroy us at the same time.

What is interesting is that we are only born with two fears. A new born baby will become afraid if it feels like it is falling or if there is a loud noise. All the other fears we have are learned. They are either explicitly taught to us, like a parent telling us about snakes, or we learn them subtly through our environment, such as acquiring the fear of failure.

As we journey together through this pandemic, our children are experiencing anxiety and fear at levels most of us did not face when we were their age. Our theme this year, “Fearless”, was chosen because it is important for us, especially during this moment in history, to teach our children about fear. To show them what it is. To discuss with them how it can be a positive. To explain to them how it can be a negative. To teach them how to respect it and understand it but to not let it dominate and debilitate. We cannot let what they are experiencing now imprint on them a lingering sense of foreboding and ultimately having them see the world through the lens of fear.

We stop being afraid of the boogeyman under our bed through experience and education. This year we want to do the same for our kids. Through education and experience, help them better understand fear and its role in our lives.

And hey, don’t forget to check under the bed!

Written by Karl Steinkamp

Karl Steinkamp is passionate about Dalat International School and training up young people. Karl was a student at Dalat and returned with a degree in education as a student teacher, high school principal, and now Head of School since 2006.
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