Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fear is Never a Go(o)d Thing.

"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself!"
~Franklin D. Roosevelt during his first inaugural address in 1933.

Does anyone else see the irony of that phrase being used in the inaugural address during the depression? These economic times that we are now experiencing have been reported as 'the worst since the Great Depression".

FDR had the right idea. He knew that people do strange things when they are afraid. People were in a state of pandemonium because they feared for their future. Those who were unemployed feared not being able to pay the rent and feed their families. The employed were afraid of losing their job tomorrow and thus being in dire straights.

The problem with fear is that it often does nothing positive to motivate. People may start hording things, becoming miserly and selfish. Some become envious of the fellow down the street who has more than he does. These are fearful responses that do little for long term security.

My grandmother, who bore nine children from 1929 - 1948 lived in fear her whole life. When she died in 1986 at age 75 she still lived in the same ramshackle home she had lived in since the 1950's. Her children had urged her to move for many years, but she was afraid to spend any money. She had money stashed in every nook and cranny of her home. Thousands of dollars that could have made her life a tad easier in her later years, but fear kept her from enjoying much of her life. This is no way to live.

Neither should we spend like there is no tomorrow, fearing that we will never have another couple of dimes to rub together. Likewise, this will not produce a positive, enjoyable outcome in our golden years. We have to take positive steps to plan for the future without fear.

The opposite of fear is courage. We have to have the bravery to face the future with resolve. We need to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

As a nation we pulled through the Great Depression. With vision and hindsight, used wisely and without fear, we should rise above this economic crisis too.