“No. I don’t want to,” the preschooler said, shaking his head.
“But doesn’t it look like fun?” I asked, pointing to stack of canoes.
He shrugged his shoulders and looked down. He didn’t want to put on a life vest and climb into that canoe.
I assured him it was okay that he didn't want to go, and sent Llama Papa and the noisy boys off in canoes with my Aunt and Uncle. The preschooler and I walked back to the boathouse, and I asked one more time.
“Why don’t you want to try the canoe?”
“Well, it’s too long.”
“We don’t have to go for a long ride. We could just paddle over to the dock. Wanna try it?”
“No. I don’t have my swimsuit on.”
“Oh, that’s okay. We won’t get wet. We’ll stay dry in the boat.”
“Then why do we need to wear those vests?”
“Those are just-in-case vests. Sometimes the boat tips over by accident and we wear the vests to stay safe. But most of the time, almost all of the time, you stay perfectly dry in the boat.”
“Oh. Well. Oh. Okay. I changed my mind. I want to try it.”
We flagged down Llama Papa’s canoe as it headed around a corner, and climbed in. The preschooler grinned as he sat down. We paddled around Stoney Lake, swapping stories with our family in the other canoe and racing toward a mama swan and her babies. We enjoyed the fresh air and sun and time together floating around. The preschooler loved it.
And to think he almost missed it.
Fear holds us back sometimes without us even noticing it. We don’t have the words to describe it, but it’s there. And sometimes we just need someone to ask us the right questions so we can move forward. Life is short. Too short to be held back by insecurity and fear.
Surround yourself with people who ask good questions. People who listen. People who encourage you to try new things and be your best self.
You’ll be glad you did.