“We are going to walk ‘there’to get accross the river?” She didn’t mean that she didn’t want to physically walk to a location, but that they had to walk somewhere she was afraid to walk in order to get to the location.
Have you ever had fear so crippling that it prevents you from doing what you would want to do? There is somewhere you would like to be but you have let fear stop you from getting ‘there’ because you had to go ‘there’ on the way.
Our MOSAIC teens set out to walk accross the river after supper. We had thirteen kids from a number of nations walking along the route. We were going to walk from the Northside of the city, go accross the walking bridge, then through downtown Fredericton, grab a snack and then walk home on the city bridge.
While it was daylight we made our way into the Southside, one of our boys told a leader he was overcoming his fear of heights by walking on the bridge to get there.
As we started walking in the downtown area, one of our teens reiterated her fear of crossing the street in crosswalks. The kind of fear that caused anxiety each time we arrived at a crosswalk. Every time we encouraged her to do it with the group and we would do it together. She did it!
We went to a local poutinnerie and we ordered three kinds of poutine for the kids to sample. Some of the kids were afraid to try something new and yet almost every teen tried some. They actually liked it and discovered they had been missing out on a few things, maybe they would try new foods in the future 🙂
It was now time to walk back accross the river. It was dark and we would be walking in the city bridge. The city bridge has a sidewalk that is safe. As an adult I am not afraid to walk accross the bridge, to be over the water, to walk in the dark, but many of the teens were nervous. We reassured them that it would be fine. As a group we got on the bridge and walked and talked about fears. I promised them it would be fine and that we were doing this together.
As we took our last steps accross that bridge and down the other side I could see confidence rise in them. They saw that their fears don’t often come true. I chatted with one girl and said, “you know most of the negative things we think in our head never happen. What if we told ourselves nothing bad will happen and I won’t listen to those fears. What if something good can happen.”
Finally we made our way to their homes. We took a well lit route home on the streets to their destination. We talked about the importance of walking in groups and in well lit areas if possible and to not be afraid.
Tonight was about overcoming fears and knowing that no matter what nation they come from, they could look out for each other. It was another amazing MOSAIC night. No walls, no fears, no barriers.
Stay tuned for the next update here as we explore the ugly truth of racism in our city and towards our teens. It happened last night, again!