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3 Oct 2014
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Has Fear Got Your Number?

Lisa was always afraid of maths. That is, until she got a unique chance to face her fear...

Lisa Parker was at her wit's end. She was living on a derelict housing estate in East London and bringing up two children on her own. The estate was demolished and Lisa and her children, daughter Emma and younger son Nathan, were rehoused. At the same time Lisa was given an unexpected opportunity to go back to school. Four years later, she has faced her fear of maths and literally transformed her life.

"To be honest, I lacked confidence for most of my school years, so maths was quite a bad subject for me. If there was a question I didn’t know the answer to and I didn’t know how to work it out, I would feel like everybody was looking at me. It’s was just me being self-conscious."

So, what made Lisa give learning another try? "My children’s headmaster, who’s name was Alan Newland, actually introduced a class for the parents of the children who were going to his school. The classes were really to help with your English and Maths. I think it was such a good idea but, I think parents are a bit embarrassed or lack confidence to admit to other people that they’ve got a problem in these areas. I found I actually I enjoyed it."

Lisa has continued her education since completing the class at Hackney Primary, progressing through other courses, and now hopes to one day teach. "I’d rather face my fears and try to understand them now rather than run away, because that was my attitude in the past--when the going got tough…run! I sort of face up to things now. I’ve gained a lot more confidence over the last four years in my personal life. It’s given me the confidence to go on and better myself."

Her daughter Emma admits to being proud of her mum. "She always said that she wanted to do something with her life and that she wished she had done something before. Now she’s gone to college and everything and I’m quite happy for her. She’s much happier now and she’s more confident than she was before." Lisa agrees and jokes, "And I don’t moan as much!"

What long-held fear have you conquered?
Has a particular person helped you and given you the confidence to face your fears?
Has overcoming this fear enriched your life or improved your relationships?

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