Why you gotta bee afraid?

Five stars go to an anonymous dad for this eavesdropped conversation in Lurie Garden:

Kid: Aughjkk there's so many bees... I don't want to go this way!!!
Dad: Are you afraid because of when you got stung at camp?
Kid: ...yes
Dad: I know. That was really scary. But do you see what these bees are doing? 
Kid: (stares in silence as a human pretzel)
Dad: They're pollinating. It's a super important job. They won't hurt you-- they just want to do their job. 

A++++ mystery dad!!! I've been meditating a lot on fear during my peaceful hours of weeding. I, too, was afraid of bees when I started this job. Because when I was a little girl, I watched adult women flee and squeal when bees approached. It was conditioned into me as a gender role. Now, they sit on flowers centimeters from my face, doing their work while I do mine. They buzz a beautiful working song and arch their fuzzy bodies in a choreographed dance. I understand wanting to protect young people. But as a result, many girls grow up and find a man to kill scary insects. And the men grow up swallowing many fears as a hard pit in their throat and picking another path that doesn't have bees or (insert fear of choice). With enough time, they forget why they respond this way. It becomes engrained. 
What was awesome about this interaction was how the father validated his son's emotional response and then questioned the origin of his fear. Our society often accepts fear at face value. Maybe you're scared of a female president, or equity for the LGBTQIA community, or people who look different than anyone you've ever seen. Well, why? Fear is a response to a stimulus. It makes you uncomfortable. It's not an excuse to resist change. If you're scared, good! You're alive. So is everyone else in the world. 
I have found that experience and exposure to those fears can entirely shift your perspective. This dad admirably facilitated a starting point for his son's growth as a conscious global citizen. What I'm left wondering is how different our country might look if more parents, mentors, friends, lovers, teachers, and colleagues questioned ignorance disguised as fear.

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