You know, I've always believed that a nation's language revealed a lot about its citizens. And of all the world's langauges, I love what the American version of English says about us as a people.
Firstly, no other language embraces the world as English does. We adopt and borrow words from different cultures, just as we adopt and borrow different ideas and trends. Did you know that the word "ketchup" came to us via Eastern China (where it actually meant fish brine?) Did you know that more Americans eat salsa than ketchup these days? How cool is that?
And show me another language that can use the word "dog" as a noun, a verb AND an adjective? And then have completely different meanings for the words "hotdog" and "hot-dog"?
Did you also know that no other language has the sheer volume of words as English? Did you know that there are fewer than 100,000 words in the French langauge but, according to OED, there are over 900,000 words in the English langauge? (Yeah, baby! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!)
Anyway, as an amateur lexicographer, I've always been amazed at the number of words created to describe our individual fears. For example, we have...
Anuptaphobia- Fear of staying single.
Automatonophobia- Fear of ventriloquist's dummies or wax statues
Paraskavedekatriaphobia- Fear of Friday the 13th
Pteronophobia- Fear of being tickled by feathers.
Spheksophobia- Fear of wasps (the animals, not the people)
Ichthyophobia- Fear of fish
Anyway, I bring all of this up because Best Life magazine just published the results of a poll they took regarding the Greatest Fear that Men have regarding their Preteen/Teenage Child. Here were the results:
He/she will be killed or seriously injured in a car accident: 30%
He/she will abuse drugs or alcohol: 23%
He/she will not succeed in school: 19%
He/she will become sexually active too soon: 17%
He/she will be greatly affected if we get divorced: 4%
He/she will hate me: 3%
He/she may be gay: 2%
He/she will not practice safe sex: 2%
It's ironic to me that, since becoming a father, I've developed a whole new set of fears. I've never really been one to fear anything in my life. I'm not afraid of challenges or confrontations, and I'm always willing to try anything once. But bringing a new life into the world certainly changes all that in a hurry. As the Peanut gets older, I'm sure I'll be facing all of the above fears soon enough. But right now, my little 7-month old girl needs the protection of her parents. Because she's so helpless, I sometimes find myself thinking about all the possible fears that I have for her. Some of them are absolutely inane like my fear that she'll be eaten by a dingo, my fear that she'll be kidnapped by a pack of ninjas or my fear that she'll grow up to be a stripper.
But more seriously, what about the fears that I have about the Peanut's safety, her health, her education and the state of the world? Really, this is just the tiny tip on top of the tip of the iceberg's tip. The actual number of irrational fears that I have about raising a child is pretty much endless. And in some sort of apparently misguided attempt to soothe my fears, the shrink says that these worries will pretty much last forever. (Great! That advice helps a lot. Can I have my fucking money back, please?) I've surprisingly chilled out a little bit over the past few months. But at the beginning of BossLady's pregnancy, I was a fucking lunatic. I'm getting better so I assume that's just part of one's maturation as a parent. I guess the sooner one accepts that the worrying will never go away, the sooner one can deal with the realities of watching your child grow up. Every stage will bring a new set of fears. Great!
As the wise man once said, "we've got nothing to fear but fear itself."
But then again, the wise man never had a daughter or met my friend KH. My buddy KH, the father of 2 boys, recently dropped a pearl of wisdom on me. He said, "You know. When you have a son, you only have to worry about one penis. But when you have a daughter, you have to worry about ALL of them."
Thanks, dude! But since my daughter is only 7-months old, for now, I've got enough to worry about. I'm going to put off my fears about her actually being old enough to date...for at least another year or two.
So what about you? What fears (rational or not) do you have? about your kids or anything else? C'mon, Internet. An inquiring mind wants to know.