Injecting a little fear into eighth graders as they get ready to transition to high school might not seem like the best strategy, but it turned out to be a positive message from Al Teel, Director of the Performance Improvement Team at ERC. 

Speaking before a class at River City Science Academy recently, Teel turned fear into F.E.A.R — Face Everything and Rise. “High school can be an overwhelming new chapter for incoming freshmen, but embracing the fear and rising to the occasion will help ease the transition and establish a solid foundation for the next four years of the students’ lives,” Teel said.

“I can remember when I was in your same shoes and I had a bundle of emotions,” Teel said during his address to the students. “I was happy and excited, but also sad because I was not going to see the same friends and teachers every day.”

So often, fear leads to individuals shutting themselves down, to protect themselves from being embarrassed or forced to deal with circumstances they have never faced before. Change can be scary. But change can also be uplifting. It can free the soul, wipe the slate clean, and open new doors and opportunities.  

Along with helping students prepare for high school by tackling F.E.A.R, Teel also left them with another acronym: T.D.L., and the power of positive thinking. T.D.L. stands for Think Right, Do Right, Live Right.

The power of positive thinking can make a monumental difference in the life of a student, or anyone. “Having the right mental attitude is so important when facing new challenges,” Teel said. Positive thinking and the self-confidence to believe in one’s self go hand in hand. Knowing that whatever a new challenge throws at you — whether it is going to a new school, a new job, or a new town — you’re going to be better for facing it, is what sustains people during difficult times.