Think about it. Just a few years ago, kids grew up licking lead-painted walls. They were spanked, and told not to express themselves in public. They rode bicycles and skateboards without helmets, or knee-pads for that matter. They played on “Monkey-Bars” and used “Lawn-Darts”. They drove farm tractors before they were 10, and rode in the middle of the front seat in the car.
In our modern world, our desperate attempts to become god-like and control our fate, we have eliminated most of these things to protect ourselves from pain and tragedy. And in the process we are losing something vital, something urgent, and as obvious as the nose on your face. We are losing the dignity of risk-taking.
Risk-taking is such a validating and essential part of our existence, and it baffles me why we avoid it so.
When a baby begins to learn to walk, it is an unwritten law that they must, and will hit their head on the floor, their face on the coffee table in the process. While we would prefer to prevent all this head trauma, the reality is that these incidents are the most important events that provide a human being with the urgency to learn how to balance, how to stabilize themselves, how to walk on their own two feet.
I understand this to be an essential life principle the has applications far beyond learning to walk. To continue to become a whole and mature person, we must expose ourselves to risk, to trauma, to failure. There is no way around it, except to continue to crawl…