The only thing to fear is FEAR itself 

The only thing to fear is FEAR itself 

This quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt brought hope to the American people during the Great Depression.

Like in any endeavour that is aimed at succeeding, there is an element of fear in the minds of teenagers who are taking GCSE and A-level examinations. There are a couple of other F words such as false and failure that are just as bad as fear. 

I suppose we’ve all been there as adults, and the truth is that failure is real, but it is not so helpful to devote too much energy into being fearful. It is more productive to invest valuable resources such as energy into doing what needs to be done in order to thrive.

It is perfectly normal for there to be a tiny bit of trepidation when one is going for something big. Afterall these examinations are the first major tests in the lives of these young people and they have wider ramifications for the future.

What we can do as parents is to help reassure our teenagers at this crucial time in their lives. The reality is that some of us parents are more anxious about the whole exam thing than the teenager who is actually sitting the tests!

It is perhaps more fruitful for us not to show so much anxiety as this can make the teenager nervous, which is not good for anyone. I’m probably as guilty as some other parents on this, as I can’t help myself sometimes. Whatever we do as parents, we have a duty to help calm the nerves and, although it may be difficult, it has to be done.

The most popular acronym for the word fear is False Evidence Appearing Real, and there is a lot in those four words that sums up why young people should not be fearful, as long as they do what has to be done to prepare for their exams.

My seventeen-year old son was fearful of two things at the start of his A-level in the autumn: the volume and content of Medieval History and Mechanics in Further Maths. He finds the content dark and dry in that aspect of the History curriculum and he was not enthusiastic about learning it. He perceived Mechanics to be challenging and feared he may not do as well.

Winding the clock ahead a few months, he now finds many aspects of medieval history fascinating and the mechanics topics are some of his strongest areas in Further Maths.

A couple of months ago, he found himself with two dilemmas: changing school in the middle of the course and taking four A-level subjects while all his friends are taking three subjects. He thought I was being cruel to ask him to do 8 to 10 hours of study over the weekend.

I will sum this up with a quote by the American author and public speaker.

“F-E-A-R: has two meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours.” — Zig Ziglar.

Please help me in this easy word teaser!

In the next couple or so blogposts I will be using two acronyms – CAN and SMART. I’d like to see if you can help to find a sentence that connects the three acronyms

FEAR, CAN and SMART – I’m trying come up with a sentence that is positive and motivational, using other words to connect the three words (the dictionary meaning of fear, can and smart)

All you need to know is the meaning of each of the three words, and you need not know anything about the acronym.

If you have any suggestion, please send it in an e-mail to [email protected]