My children, Tyler and Kayla, have brought me more happiness than a parent could ever imagine. There is a tremendous blessing and joy in being a dad that isn’t easily translated into words. As a parent, I want the absolute best for my kids and I desire them to experience a long, healthy, and happy life. I want them to do better than I did and to live a life with no regrets. But I don’t know if they can do this if I encourage them to “play it safe.”
BE SAFE. BUT DON’T BE TOO SAFE.
Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t put your hand on the hot stover or stick a bobby pin in the electrical socket. Don’t run with the scissors in your hands. And by all means don’t do drugs. These are the insights that I believe we should encourage our children to obey. These situations could turn out deadly or harmful and we are wise parents to instill these guidelines into the minds of our youngsters.
Then there are the guidelines or ideologies that may cause painful memories or challenges in life but don’t ultimately result in dangerous outcomes – like falling in love, choosing a career, or following their dreams. These life choices can end up positive or negative but they likely won’t be fatal. It’s here where I believe that parents should, in some way, encourage their kids to not be safe and to explore the unknown.
WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED?
We are told as children to follow our dreams. When we aspired to be astronauts, missionaries, artists, and firemen we were revered for these pursuits and encouraged to chase after them. Then as we got into high school we were told to follow the “safe route” … get a 4.0 grade average, go to a prestigious college, choose a career in medicine, business, or law and work at that until you retire and can buy an RV to travel. Then you die. This plan is guaranteed.
You are no longer allowed to think outside the box and dream. Being an astronaut or an artist is foolish thinking and if you still believe in your childhood dream you will be labeled a loser or heretic. Lemurs are championed and revered.
THERE IS NO GUARANTEE.
Being a lemur is no guarantee for safety. Sure there can be solace or peace in knowing you have numbers. It feels safe being in a large group of like-minded individuals and it can even increase your odds of survival. But you can still get hurt or die.
In our day and age, the Industrial Revolution mindset no longer applies. How many of YOU know someone who took that safe route and now find themselves with expensive pieces of paper but now they aren’t working in the area of their studies, can’t find a job, or have no 401K plans to live on? How many people do you know who absolutely hate the path they are on or have even committed suicide by following the crowd? We have seen a dramatical shift in our economy and the canyon is littered with lemurs who thought the status quo would save them.
SO WHY NOT JUMP?
In the end we will all die. There is only one path and it ends in death. We know this is absolute. So if we know that the end of the game is going to have the same outcome regardless of how we play, why not TRULY LIVE while we are here?
My daughter desires to sing and be artistic. She dreams of being in the music industry and performing on stage for thousands of people. She is also about to turn nineteen and knows that “making it” is a longshot – she understands the decision of pursuing a music degree at our local college may or may not result in achieving her goals. BUT SHE IS NOT AFRAID. She would rather try and fail than to never try her dream at all and live with regret. AND I GIVE HER A STANDING OVATION!!!
People think she is crazy. It’s not a safe bet for sure, but then why not go all in if in the end we lose it all anyway?
Our lives really are a crap-shoot at times. We win some, we lose some. We could experience the rewards of being in the right place at the right time. We could die driving our car to Starbucks or McDonalds today. It’s possible that we could find a career we can retire from or it’s possible that all that hard work will result in a layoff. You just don’t know!
GO AHEAD…LEAP INTO THE UNKNOWN!
I encourage my kids to be safe where it can be deadly and where it matters, but to live with an almost reckless abandon where it’s not. As long as they do all they can to honor God, then I can be content with the outcome. I think it’s foolish to try and calculate every risk in your life rather than never truly live at all!
What do you think?