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Don’t Be Afraid of the Bears

Don’t Be Afraid of the Bears

“Sh!” Baylor turned to me as we went up the steps. “Be quiet so the bears won’t hear us.”

The bears? Baylor and I had just left my office and were heading up toward the sanctuary.

“Are there bears in the church?” I asked.

“Sh! They might hear us. Walk softly.”

Although I wasn’t convinced it was necessary for me to crouch behind this three-year-old and be on the lookout for bears, I complied. As we came to the curtained area where cameras were hidden on Sunday, I asked, “Should I look behind the curtain for bears?”

Finger still to her lips, she shook her head and motioned for me to follow her. We continued on high alert for bears until we reached our destination—the church history room. Relieved that we didn’t see any bears and feeling safe to talk behind the closed door of the room, she said, “We made it!” High fives followed.

Sometimes the things we fear are very real and sometimes they are just imagined. But how can we prepare them to face their fears?

At age three most bear hunts are the product of an active imagination and provide a few moments of creative play with your toddler in charge. But as children get older, the things they fear, whether seen or unseen, become greater. Here are a few ideas to prepare children for those times in life when they are afraid.

  1. Enjoy those moments of imaginative play. Go along on the bear hunt. If you do happen to encounter the bear, use the role play to teach constructive reactions.
  2. If your young child is consistently afraid of something such as the boogie man or the big bad wolf, find a way to totally eliminate the object of the fear. For example, when our children were young they were terrified of the big bad wolf. We tried everything we could verbally to convince them that he didn’t exist. But until my husband acknowledged his presence downstairs, rolled up a magazine, beat him to death while the children were in earshot, then flushed him down the toilet, they could not be convinced. After that incident, the big bad wolf no longer bothered anyone.
  3. Begin instilling Scripture in your children, even when they are young. Isaiah 41:10 is a good one to start with. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (NLT). Start with just the first sentence and eventually memorize the entire verse.
  4. Show your children by example that you trust God in all situations. They will learn from your example.

By: Linda Gilden has enjoyed every bear hunt she has been on through the years and is thankful for the opportunity to help her children and grandchildren learn to trust in God to overcome their fears. This summer they have enjoyed lots of fun times in the pool where they occasionally go on a shark hunt! Visit her at

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