I Love Dangerous. | Are Our Kids Too Safe?

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Today, as we honor the risk taking, culture changing man Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, I am wondering about his mother.

How did she raise a man who was not afraid to resist what is acceptable, and live an uncommon life?   How can I teach my own children this priceless truth? As moms, do we work too hard to make sure we keep them unscathed, comfortable and walking down the path that our culture says kids should follow?  How do we raise leaders and those who will, like Dr. King, change a culture, even in the face of danger?  

Is there such a thing as “kids too safe”?

All this wondering reminded of a trip to the grocery store not too long ago:

We ran into the store the other day for a few quick items. It literally was three things, so he was actually fairly well behaved… Until the check out line. On a side note – Whoever invented the check out line did not have a three year old. I mean seriously the eye-level candy, chips and Chapstick- I usually end up having to add a minimum of two items to my order per visit.

But what is absolutely certain is that we always get the “rojo” car cart. Car carts. They are a must when you’re three. And for Jack, it must be rojo. Every. Single. Time.

So we roll up to check out lane #4 (ten items or less) and I’m chatting it up with Jan. I look over and there is Jack…standing up on the door jam of the rojo car. I watched his short life flash before my eyes- and visions of stitches and concussions flew through my mind.

In my very sweetest, sternest, grocery-store-good-mom approved voice I said, “Jackson Wade, you need to get down right now. Please. Standing up there is very DANGEROUS.” I really drew out and enunciated the DANGEROUS in order to make my point.

He looked up at me, took one hand off the cart (my heart stopped) brushed his golden, Justin Bieber locks out of his eyes and stared directly into mine. And slowly, enunciating his words, as if to really make sure I understood, he said,

“But MOM. I love DANGEROUS.”

I mean. What do you do with that?

He was 100% honest in that moment. Because he does love dangerous. It’s in him. It’s who he is. And that really got me thinking.

He was born without fear of pretty much anything.

How do I parent that without killing it?

How do I encourage him to live that part of him that loves the thrill of adventure, loves to feel alive and actually KEEP him alive?

And what about me? What about you?

Are there parts of us we’ve let die to live safely?

I’m reminded of an amazing quote by Mark Batterson:

Too often we take people out of their natural habitat and try to tame them… We try to remove the risk. We try to remove the danger. We try to remove the struggle.

Do I want to tame my son? Or teach him to use that fearless nature to live hard, live big, and love people?

I’m thinking the latter.

And I’m thinking I might need to learn a thing or two from him.

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Noelle Larson is a mom still searching to find the “balance” between her spiritual journey, family, ambition, inner peace, world peace…all while trying not to blink so she doesn’t miss one minute of her beautiful, messy life.  Noelle writes at metromom.org where she journals her crazy days chasing after her kids and husband, deep thoughts, and captures her latest adventures.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I tried to comment when this first posted. I love this! I am not raising children, but adults. I want them to be bold and brave—not just physically but emotionally and socially, too.

  2. Thanks Cate! I agree, we are raising adults. No pressure or anything 😉 Getting over our fear that life isn’t going to be perfect for them and we can let them fall and fail in the process of growth and learning is huge. You set a great example for mothers to follow in this.
    xo

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