movements + risk

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

do you let your kids take risks?

last night i listened to a program on npr about kids, safety and risk taking. the debates centered around playground safety and standards, new laws, rising medical costs of injuries, etc. but the big take away for me was the idea that when we don't let our kids take acceptable risks in their play, we are taking away critical learning opportunities. 

almost every weekend we venture out to the mountains, desert or beach for a hike, stroll, general running around. we rock climb, run, tumble down sand dunes and swim in very cold water, often. i love nature, i love getting the kids out in nature. and i love watching and encouraging them to take risks. climb out on that tree limb, see what happens. scale that rock, can you do it? i feel like taking risks teaches them about their bodies, their strength. it let's them test their limits. what if they fail, can they try again? when it is time to try another way? logic, problem solving. the lessons are endless.

this quote by t.s. eliot sums it up, "only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." 


  1. I'm so hesitant physically, so I am always nervous when the kids take risks. Of course, we've already had a 15 month old with a broken leg! J is so much more ok with them trying new things and challenging themselves. (PS love your photos today!)

    1. It is scary sometimes, but when I see them loving the freedom and feeling pride when they try something that feels risky to them, I know letting them go is the right thing. Within bounds of course. Luckily there has been nothing broken, knock on wood, so I understand your worry. Remember how joyful the kids were in Joshua Tree scaling the rocks? That was so fun to see.

  2. Funny, I was just trying to get my head around this very subject this morning. In a week, my blonde, blue eyed daughter is going to South Africa for an MBA project she is working on. While she is there she will be going into slums and impoverished areas. I worry for her safety. As a mom, I think one has to take a leap of faith that all will be well. It never really gets easier... small adventures become big ones. Enjoy the path.

  3. Karina,

    This is really lovely. I remember loving roller coasters as a child. I LIVED for them. I'd race up to them with my ticket and fought them even though I was always too short for the dangerous rides. Just because I wanted to feel IT, whatever IT was. As I grew older I became frightened of them. Saw all the danger, the risk, it was all too much to bear.

    And your post reminded me that we all have to brace ourselves and get back in the ride. Whatever that means for each one of us.

    Thank you for the beauty.