Saturday, January 25, 2014

Why I Worry

Okay, I'll admit it; I'm a worry wart. I tend to worry a lot.

Some people have told me that's a sin because it shows that I lack faith. (Of course passing judgement on others is also a sin, but we won't get into that.) Others say worrying is a psychological problem. Some folks think it's the result of having a creative mind or an innate personality trait, while others have told me it's perfectly normal and everyone does it.

In my case, I think it's at least partly something I was taught to do.

When I was six years old my father died.  My mother had never lived without parents or her husband to care for her. She was afraid she wouldn't be able to support and care for her kids and kept telling me about her fears. Even after she managed to find a job, and through most of my childhood, she would tell me over and over again about our financial problems and other things that scared her.

What if ...? What if ...? What if ...?

In other words, she taught me to worry.

I don't want to bad-mouth my mother. Being a single parent was extremely difficult back then when there was no welfare, no before and after school child-care, women couldn't get well-paying jobs. and single parent households were rare.

Today there are far more single parents than existed in the past, and I hope people raising kids alone - or even in two-parent households - don't tell their children all their fears.  Of course it's important to be honest with children and sometimes parents have to explain that they can't afford certain things or that a family member is seriously ill.

But I hope parents will be careful about what they share with their children and emphasize things that are hopeful.

The world doesn't need more worry-warts.

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