Fears: Stupid is as stupid does

By Leslie Radford: Quay County Sun

I love meeting new people and learning about who they are and where they come from. That could be the very reason I chose this profession.

I’m always up for a chat about me, as well.

I grew up as redneck as a person can get. But I can’t say I’ve always been a proud Texan. Now, I have no problem saying my daddy wore a farmer’s tan and a blue collar to work every day of his life. I think it’s funny when people don’t believe me when I tell them how I come from a podunk town in Texas and how I drive a dirty ol’ farm truck, and how I used to help my dad out on the farm. I guess you can take me out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of me.

My parents were the kind that thought you should learn from experience. “Just try it, see what happens.” And if it didn’t turn out like I expected, I’d get a “One of these days, you’ll learn.” I figured out pretty early that 1) I can’t always get what I want, 2) sometimes you have to ask for help, and 3) it’s not OK to be scared.

A person couldn’t be afraid of work around my dad. It didn’t matter if you were a boy or a girl, you could do it just the same. You also never showed fear when working with my dad; he assumed you knew what you were doing in the first place or you would “figure it out, real quick-like.”

There was no time for being afraid around him.


One of my learning experiences came from my mother always telling me, “Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.” So, I’ll try just about anything once.

Now that I think about it, she was probably only referring to the vegetables she made me eat when I was just a tot. I refused everything that wasn’t made with sugar.

My parents very well influenced who I am today, fears and all. I can honestly say they prepared me for the real world. It’s a scary place out there. A person has to be truly courageous to be alive.

Courage is the art of doing what we fear to do.” I forget where that came from, but I love it! Seriously, how many people are too afraid to do what they really want when they want it?

I’ll admit, I’m skeered of snakes and wasps, afraid of suffocating and run from clowns. Stupid, isn’t it, to be so afraid of such things?

One of my biggest learning experiences was challenging myself to overcome those fears … or at least try, like momma told me. Fear, in general, was holding me down. It’s crazy if you think about everything you’re afraid of and miss out on a part of life just because you’re afraid of what might come.

I’ll never be able to go to a circus for as long as I live, that’s for sure.

As part of a redneck family, we always had guns in our house, but never a pistol. My dad taught each of us kids how to use a gun; it was vital to our redneck existence.

I never feared any firearm the way I did pistols. I thought it was ridiculous that I was perfectly comfortable around a rifle, but never a handgun. That’s just stupid!

Learning to shoot a pistol helped me move on in my life. I realized that fears are just thoughts — they’re not real, they’re ideas. How can I be afraid of something that’s not tangible?

I came to the conclusion that I was afraid of handguns because that’s not something I was ever exposed to. I didn’t know the first thing about pistols. I didn’t know how to react if I came within 100 yards of one buried in the dirt.

That’s when I got to thinking about stupid people — stupid people and why they think the way they do. It’s because they won’t take the time to learn about what they don’t know. They don’t have the courage to open their minds.

Perspective, my friends, is a beautiful thing. To see something in a different light allows us to grow as individuals and have a greater understanding of how the world works. Isn’t that what life’s all about?

How would we have gotten this far if people didn’t expand their minds and figure out ways to make life worth living?

Could you live without electricity? Would you want to? What fear can you overcome to make your life better? Just imagine all the new experiences you could endure — all the things you would learn.

And why wouldn’t a person want to learn everything they possibly could and share that knowledge with everyone they come in contact with; not to impose on another’s beliefs, but to enlighten them? Are they afraid of being judged?

Enlighten me, please.

You never know what you’re going to take away from someone who is not afraid to spread a little light on your life.
What are you afraid of?

Leslie Radford is interim managing editor of the Quay County Sun. Contact her at 461-1952 or by e-mail: leslie_radford@link.freedom.com