Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)
TITLE: Jamie Grows Up
By Deborah Engle
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On his first birthday, the house was filled with family and friends. Jamie seemed a little bewildered but still seemed to enjoy all the activity. Everything went as planned until it was time for the cake. Not quite sure what to do with the small cake in front of him, he eventually did what we all hoped he would. He made a big mess of himself and ate a little bit of the cake. Thankfully, he waited until after we got a few pictures before he did the unexpected- he brought it all back up! Too much excitement had produced a nervous stomach. It seemed that my son didn’t handle stress very well!
Several months later, we were quite surprised by his reaction to something we had paid no attention to. As Jamie wandered about the room during a slide show, he stepped in front of the projector and was confronted with his shadow. Because of the small size of the room, the shadow did some strange things. As his efforts to move away from it failed, he was filled with terror. To his little mind it must have seemed like a monster, and there was no calming him. Our docile little Jamie wanted none of it and was very vocal about it!
Like any parent, I waited anxiously for new milestones, but found that Jamie had to be prodded to attempt any unfamiliar activity. It took some coaxing to get him to climb on his jungle gym, and when his daddy picked him up and set him in a tree one day, you could see the panic in Jamie’s eyes as he clung tightly to the branch. One evening when he was about three, his daddy got on the floor to wrestle with him but Jamie wasn’t interested. After unsuccessfully trying to escape, he frantically shouted, “Daddy, quit horsing me around!” Later, he strongly objected when the training wheels were removed from his bike, even though he had no need for them. It seemed there was not an adventurous bone in his body. He was going to take the road less traveled, at least by little boys. He was going to take the safe road.
With his gentle nature, his diminutive size, and his cherubic looks, it was inevitable that Jamie’s fearfulness would make him the target of some neighborhood bully. On one occasion I literally had to rescue him from the hands of a 180 LB, 5 foot 10 inch tall 12 year old! I still wonder what might have happened if Jamie’s little brother had not run home to get me.
No matter how hard he tried to avoid it, Jamie’s little-boy life was an adventure because all children face challenges and trials. Character and confidence develop through wise and loving guidance and my son was fortunate to have had many such influences in his life. The boy who was once afraid of his shadow is now an adult with numerous adventures under his belt, including two years on his high school wrestling team. He has experienced and reveled in mountain climbing, bungee jumping, spelunking, white-water rafting and wilderness trips. He has traveled to three continents, and will soon be moving to a foreign country to serve as a missionary.
His hair is not quite as bright as it once was, and his complexion has lost that rosy glow, but the child that he was has made him the man he is today. The fear that once controlled him has become determination; the sensitive nature that once restrained him has enabled him to respond to God’s call on his life. What better example could he be? And all those expectations? They have surely been abundantly satisfied!
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