Risky Business

At some point or another most parents think that maybe they aren’t in the running for the “Parent of the Year” award. I’ve felt this way for oh…about 17 years.

My husband and I rely on a mix of intuition and what I read on blogs to justify our parenting methods. For the record, our intuition tends to be more successful, even when it’s at odds with what others (whether people we know or bloggers) believe.

Like doing dangerous stuff.

Hey, we grew up as kids in the 70-80s and did really stupid things (especially my husband), but we are not only alive today, but we are probably more interesting people for it.

And so despite being the “Strictest parents of all their friends” (so say our kids) – we are probably some of the most permissive when it comes to unconventional things. I was an admitted sleep-nazi when it came to my kids and I fiercely guarded our family time. But as the kids and their interests grew up – I recognized that there were things that they were going to have to learn the hard way.

My son is really the one who is testing all the boundaries that are out there and in response – we have been somewhat elastic with the barriers.

The three things he loves to do: climbing things, blow things up, and watch horror movies.

Generally speaking, not the first three things that I would recommend putting on an application.

One of the hundreds of rocks he climbed.

One of the hundreds of rocks he climbed.

He is sitting down to remove his socks and shoes.

He is sitting down to remove his socks and shoes.

Note the shells - this was his first time trap shooting and he kicked ass.

Note the shells – this was his first time trap shooting and he kicked ass.

What you may notice is that in none of these photos was he wearing a helmet and/or bubble-wrap.

What I can’t show you is the focus and concentration he has when doing these things. The time and effort he puts into researching things like the fire crackers he orders (yes, we allow this), or the excitement of hacking these explosions to do his own thing.

Could he get hurt? Absolutely.

Could he get in trouble? Check.

But can he learn new things? Can he become more confident? Will he take risks?

It is because of the possible “yes” to any or all of the last three things that we allow him to pursue his interests.

I have a hard time relating to parents who bubble-wrap their kids. I don’t judge, but I can’t help thinking…what really is the worst thing that could happen. (And don’t answer “they could die”, because that’s the obvious answer and the reality is that it can happen whether your kid decide to jump off the garage roof or not.)

In fact, if you need further support – watch this <a href="

“>Ted Talks.

If you compare the top 5 things that parents worry will happen to their kids with the top 5 things that actually happen to the kids….there’s a big disconnect.

Risk-taking is important. It leads to discovery and mistakes or as I like to call it: learning.

This is completely relevant to the workplace, which in my opinion is second only to the school playground as the ultimate risk-adverse environment. I’ve seen managers jump in and take over the minute anything appears to remotely be going off path…They don’t trust that their employees will a) recognize the potential risk and/or b) be able to handle the risk appropriately.

And as long as these managers continue to allow their employees to work down the straight and narrow, not experiencing frustration, challenges, and failure – then they will likely be correct.

Seriously, the only use for bubble wrap in the workplace is for shipping breakables.


2 thoughts on “Risky Business

  1. Oh dear. I can already see my 2 year old son being into everything your son is. I’m both terrified and excited at what the future holds. I hope I have the strength to encourage him in his interests and not smother him with my anxiety.

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