Visit Goldfish Kids Site

Creating Summer Memories by Overcoming Fear

Dad's Corner by Fred Goodall

Summer is my favorite time of year because it is the one time of year when we can participate in fun, exciting family activities. One of our favorite things to do is travel to new places. These vacations have not only allowed us to experience new cultures, but they’ve also given us opportunities to conquer our fears.


Last year my sons and I took a Mancation - a weekend beach trip with just the guys. Before our trip, my son, X, who was 3-years old, was terrified of the beach. He didn’t like the way the sand felt underneath his feet and he was afraid to get into the water. 


At the beach, I held X’s hand and walked him along the shoreline. I slowly guided him towards the water so he could get his feet wet. 


“Daddy, I’m scared,” he said trying to pull back. 


“Don’t worry,” I said. “I have your hand and Daddy won’t allow anything bad to happen to you.” He squeezed my hand and tentatively stepped forward. All this time, his older brother, N, had been running through the surf. Wanting to keep up with his brother, X stood in the water and allowed a wave to crash into his body. After discovering that it wasn’t as bad as he thought, his courage grew stronger and he ventured towards his brother. Before long, both boys and I were splashing in the water, jumping over waves, and having a great time. 


X looked at me with a huge smile on his face and said, “Daddy, I’m not scared anymore.” Those words will be forever etched in my mind. There are few things greater than watching your child overcome a fear.


One summer, I was the one who had to overcome a fear by trying something new. We took a trip to Colorado Springs and decided to visit Pike’s Peak. I thought it would be a good idea to drive to the top. Everything was going fine until the altitude increased and we started to approach the narrow, guardrail-free switchbacks. My heart raced as I looked over the edge and saw a precipitous drop. I clenched the steering wheel as tightly as my sweaty, trembling hands could manage and carefully creeped up the mountainside. I tried to remain calm and collected, but I was terrified. What if I made a wrong move and fell over the edge? What if my brakes failed? What if we all died? I wanted to turn back.


My wife could tell I was nervous and offered words of encouragement. Feeling her hand stroking my shoulder gave me a sense of comfort and the confidence to press on.


At the top, I breathed a sigh of relief and marveled at the beauty that surrounded me. If I had allowed my fears to control me, I never would have made it to the mountaintop to enjoy the magnificent view. 


You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to have great summer time experiences, but I encourage everyone to use the summer season to push past your comfort zone and try something you haven’t done before. It may be scary, but once you push past the initial fear, you will reap great rewards and create lasting memories.


For more musings from Frederick, visit