A blind man had been waiting a while at a busy road for someone to offer to guide him across, when he felt a tap on his shoulder. “Excuse me,” said the tapper, “I’m blind; would you mind guiding me across the road?” The first blind man took the arm of the second blind man and they both crossed the road. After the event the first blind man, who was George Shearing the famous Jazz Pianist, commented: “What could I do? I took him across and it was the biggest thrill of my life!”
This incident illustrates that sometimes taking a risk can help reduce our dependency on others and lead to the discovery of new capabilities and personal satisfaction. When it comes to our children and risk taking, we would not want them to step out “blindly” when someone taps them on the shoulder and offer them a “dare”. Part of raising our children is to help them to define boundaries. It’s a balancing act that requires knowing when to let children take risks in safe environments, as against taking risks in situations where they would endanger themselves or others.
Taking risks allows children to understand the concept of trial and error. Success will certainly build self-confidence within our children and, inevitably, failure will not only make them acknowledge their boundaries, but will provide them with opportunities to cope with the negative emotions that accompany failure. Self- confident children have the inner fortitude to try new things, even if there is a possibility of failure. So, if we can control our urge to step in and provide solutions, we may witness our children engage in creative thinking; also, we might witness our children explore their own abilities and rejoice in their own accomplishments.
It’s possible, that we parents might guide our children away from challenging situations, so we won't be inconvenienced in some way. “However, children’s development involves taking risks and operating outside of their comfort zone. If we constantly prevent our children from taking risks, they may stagnate within their own comfort zone and impede their own development.” (David Eager. University of Technology, Sydney.)
Positive risk-taking behaviour can be most beneficial to our children and the more practice they have with identifying risks and acting accordingly, the better prepared they will be to handle potentially dangerous situations and to solve problems in the future. Of course, our children need to know how to differentiate between good, healthy risks, such as bush walking and bad destructive risks, such as sitting endlessly with computer games and being a possible candidate for childhood obesity.
Risk-taking allows our children to try new physical activities, test the limits of their physical, intellectual and emotional development and gain mastery over their bodies. Risk-taking prepares our children for interaction with the real world beyond what might be our overprotective homes. If our children are not exposed to risk- taking, they could become fearful and timid children who lack confidence and decision- making skills.
Peace and Best Wishes,