The What/Why Series: What is Fear?

Lesson 3: What is Fear?


What is fear?

While fear was an emotion that used to protect us, the modern world has added new worries into the mix. We need to recognize when we’re feeling fearful, and the steps we can take to overcome it.

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  • Discuss: During his inaugural address, President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The American people were facing the Great Depression, and he wanted to give them hope during these dark times. Outside of the historical context, what might this quote mean? In a broader, more philosophical sense, does it still apply in today’s world? Discuss your ideas in a small group.
  • Building Trust (Activity): Sometimes you need help from others in order to overcome your fears. You may have heard of the “trust game.” Here are the steps to play:
  1.  Choose a partner you trust and feel comfortable with. Decide who will be the first person to fall backward, and who will be catching them.
  2. Stand facing each other about an arm's length apart. The person who will be falling backward should cross their arms over their chest.
  3. The person who is falling backward should lean back slowly, keeping their body straight and their arms folded. It might be helpful to count down!
  4. The person who is catching should be ready to fully support the falling person. They should move forward and quickly place their hands on the falling person's back.
  5. Once the falling person has been caught, switch roles and repeat!

Note for Teachers: Make sure your students are taking the game seriously so that no one gets hurt!