Risk

Hi. Remember me?

I’m the opinionated fella that seems to have an opinion about everything, but forgets to take notes on the ideas that I have opinions on and want to write about.

Since I was seized by one such topic while I have the iPad in my hand, I want to write on it. That topic is risk. Or, more accurately, protecting your kids from it.  I understand the notion, right? If I can exercise just a little bit more due diligence, and keep my girls safe, I should certainly do so, right?

Debatable.

Are we really doing them any favors by protecting them from all forms of risk? Or would we be better served by letting them fall sometimes? Then, we learn that falling happens, and how to get back up. These discussions with some of our close friends and family who are new parents. Facebook is full of fascinating things. Some of it, even good advice! But, it does t stand out as to which is which. Nobody wants to see their child hurt themselves. It really doesn’t matter if it’s by falling down, at the hands of a friend that’s less than kind, or a substance abuse problem. But, how do you learn about natural consequences, if you’re barred from making decisions that lead to them? The short answer is, you don’t. You learn to believe that someone else will save you from the repercussions of your actions.

And really, what are we trying to protect them from?

Is it that we’re trying to protect them from pain? Are we trying to protect them from bad decisions? Are we simply projecting our own fears upon them? Or, perhaps we’re trying to save our own heartache. I suspect mileage varies, but one thing that I’m sure of, is that it’s going to be difficult to find a person whose healthy confidence in themselves, if they have never been permitted to make decisions and not have them work out to force them to recover. Passing our fears on to our children does them no favors.

But, you know? Something that I’m certain of, is that it would be difficult to find joy in a life completely devoid of sorrow. The thrill of achieving an unexpected success would be severely degraded if there was no cognizance of what it is to fail. What kind of life would it be, to have such a numb existence? Failure is an integral part of growth. As a child, as a teenager, and as an adult. I’ve seen people and corporations become completely paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake, or failing. And while I’ll stop shy of encouraging them to fail, I’ll encourage them to try, because it’ll effectively be the same thing sometimes. And that failure is good, as long as you learn and grow from it.

Some people, I suppose, would rather have a boring, steady existence. I’m not one of those people. I’ll take the pain, and the joy that I then become cognizant of.