Recently, I have heard a lot of talk about parents taking life threatening risks. I thought I’d take today to address this hot topic and my take on it.
Must an adventure be life threatening to be worthwhile? I say no. People who take life threatening risks are wreck-less and self-centered; I know, because that used to be me! Three kids later, I’ve changed the way I look at things.
Have you labeled me yet? Right now you’re likely thinking that I’m like the rest of your friends who fill their life with phrases of “before I had kids I used to (insert adventurous activity) ”. If that’s what you’re thinking, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. My husband and I have a philosophy that our days of outdoor adventure will not end, despite having 3 small kids. We continue to ski, raft, climb, and backpack…oh and we bring our kids along on all of these adventures. Obviously with our kids in tow, we may tone our activities down a bit. Adventuring with kids has given me the perspective to see that an adventure doesn’t need to be dangerous to be epic.
As an avid adventurer, calculated risks are something that I think about a lot. How can I encourage my children to take risks and try new things while keeping all of us safe? By using common sense and taking time to ask ourselves a few questions, our adventures can be daring and safe at the same time. What are my skills? Where is the danger and how I can I minimize it? What am I doing to protect myself and those around me? Risks do not need to be completely avoided, but going far beyond your ability level is where things get dangerous. As parents, we talk to our kids about these things. They are with us when we scout out rapids and determine the best line. They see us scoping out a landing before we ski off a jump.
Right now the risks that we take with our kids are small and often inconsequential. Our bigger goal is to raise them to be adventurous, brave, and push their limits. We analyze the situation alongside them, modeling it so thoroughly that we hope that they will slow down and do the same when on their own.
If you’re a parent taking life threatening risks, what kind of example are you setting? Risk can be controlled by slowing down and using good judgment. Like my Dad always says, “If you die, it ruins the vacation”.
What are your thoughts on taking risks as a parent? Yes or no?