Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Brave is not the Same as Fearless

Yesterday at hippotherapy, Teddy's therapist commented on how brave Teddy was. My response was, "There's a difference between bravery and having no fear." She meant that Teddy was willing to try whatever position they maneuvered him into on the horse with complete confidence that they'd keep him from falling. They had Teddy ride side saddle to engage different muscles with the side-to-side motion. They had him lay on his belly across the horse to work on his neck and core muscles. They waited for Teddy to notice he was sliding off the horse and encouraged him to readjust himself, which he actually did several times.

His fearlessness showed  through at the parks we visited yesterday as well. There was the time he was going to just go off a 4-foot drop that was at the top of the rock climbing wall. He didn't try to walk off it. No, he safely sat down on his butt and was going to scooch off it. Safely, of course. (I caught him.) Then there was the time he thought it would be a good idea to walk across the uneven steps that were suspended 3 feet off the ground, with each step about 1 foot apart. After catching him multiple times, I lowered him to the ground.

As much as he does need to develop a healthy appreciation for his own safety, his fearlessness gives him the freedom to try new things and continue to push to do more to keep up with AJ and the other kids. He walked, safely and successfully, up and down many gradual ramps at the park all by himself without holding onto anything. He walked up a steeper ramp with rock climbing holds while holding onto the rails, all by himself. He continued to pop up to his feet whenever he fell (or dropped to his butt to safely navigate an obstacle that he knew he couldn't manage on his feet).

That fearlessness gives him freedom ... and lots of scrapes, bumps and bruises. (Most of which he doesn't even notice, so I suppose that further enables his fearlessness.)

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