Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The fear of questions

As you put down Emily Gravett’s ‘Big Book of Fears’ and look at the white mouse peeping through the mouse-chewed hole in the cover I see the look of worry enter your eyes. I ask, putting on my most sickly sweet voice to keep the situation light, “So, what is your biggest fear?” You answer automatically in a tone devoid of all emotions, “The fear of questions.” And immediately add, “Especially those questions to which I have no answers.”

I try to imagine snarky classmates and sadistic teachers and cold steel striking boney knuckles. But am assaulted by the fear of the next question waiting in line to which I honestly have no answer, “What is the fear of questions called?” And a flush of embarrassment, the kind that momentarily and involuntarily comes over when one is confronted by the unknown, starts to colour my face.

Putting my hands on your shoulders I say, “Remember what the book says, ‘A Fear Faced Is A Fear Defeated.’ So, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. Maybe people will laugh at you. Maybe others will call you a fool. Or maybe there are other people asking the same question too. And maybe someone has the answer. But how would you know if you don’t ask?”

And I smile as we share our special look, “Do you know what the fear of questions is called? Well, neither do I. Come on let us look for the answer together.”

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