Chris Rinehart
Co-Producer:  The Breaking Free Show

Recently our family took a trip to the The Great Smoky Mountains.  We did lots of new things.  There were vast opportunities, especially for the kids, to try new things and face their fears.  DH and I came to learn that our children have lots of fears when it comes to this new and foreign terrain.  This is a place where the bears are coming out of hibernation, where our children had to trust us to know where they needed to go and how to go.

For example, we taught our kids how to use cables for support while navigating steep ledges on trails and we faced our share of unpredictable weather.  Snow, rain and high winds!  Clearly, there were lots of opportunities not only to talk about being scared and worried but also to test out their bravery.



One day, we took a hike in the rain to a waterfall.  DH saw an opportunity and wanted to take a steeper route to get a better vantage point, so we assessed how safe it was to take the kids off the trail to explore.  It soon became apparent that it wasn’t safe, but by now I know that gleam in DH’s eyes well enough to know that he really wanted to test his hiking boots out and get to that spot.  The kids started to worry, and we made the decision to bring the kids back up to the hiking trail.  I told DH to keep going and exploring and not to worry because I had the kids and would get them up to the hiking trail again safe and sound.

Little one, who was behind me, turned to him and said, “Daddy, I know Mommy’s littler than you, but she can tackle it.”   Her voice rang out with spunk and full faith in herself and me to get her up to the hiking trail again safely.  There was no doubt in her voice or her eyes.


Facing fear, assessing safety and demonstrating bravery is an important skill that parents must teach their children whenever the chance presents itself.  If as parents we choose to demonstrate that skill set more often, imagine how brave and confident our sons and daughters can be.  They will look us in the eyes and confidently say, “I can tackle it.”  Then they will go out into the world and do just what they said they would.  Go get ‘em kiddos!