A few years ago I volunteered at the local elementary school, working with children who were having difficulty learning to read. The teacher gave me simple stories, and the children were to read them for me over and over, so that they mastered the stories and gained confidence in their reading abilities. I was there to help them out if they had trouble with the words.
I prayed about the students in general, knowing they were children of God, divine Mind, and had the ability to express intelligence. All the students liked the attention, and all progressed except for one student. Often he would begin to read a story and then refuse to continue. One day the thought came to me that he was afraid of failing.
I needed to treat my own thought regarding what I had discerned about this student, and I found this statement by Mary Baker Eddy in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures helpful: “Always begin your treatment by allaying the fear of patients. Silently reassure them as to their exemption from disease and danger. Watch the result of this simple rule of Christian Science, and you will find that it alleviates the symptoms of every disease. If you succeed in wholly removing the fear, your patient is healed” (pp. 411–412).