One of the phrases I grew weary of hearing during the early days of the pandemic was “Out of an abundance of caution…”. I understand that when exercising judgement, it’s appropriate to consider all the information available, the source and quality of that information, and the potential consequences of the action being considered. But it’s important to take some risks in life.
I read a study once, which I have not been able to find again, that noted that kids being brought up by parents determined to make their existence as ‘risk-free’ as possible were being disadvantaged by this approach. Parents naturally want to make sure that the kids survive to adulthood, because they’re a big investment of time and expense; and besides, how else are you going to get your tech issues handled in later years? But many parents are becoming overly-protective. Maybe the access to media is a factor: anytime something bad happens to a kid somewhere, we all know about it. I remember taking our eldest son Brian in for a checkup when he was young. His legs were full of scratches, scabs and bruises. The pediatrician took a look and remarked “Ah, the signs of a healthy boy!”
The study explained that kids that grow up overprotected come to see the world as a scary place. When they aren’t allowed to do activities because of the danger involved, or aren’t allowed to ride their bikes to school because of the bad people out there, they naturally start to think of the ‘outside world’ as a dangerous place. Is it any wonder they gravitate to their devices in the safety of their rooms? When you let your kid ride their bike and they try a trick and crash and get bloody, they learn what they can and can’t do. Without that experience, and others like it, they grow up without the ability to adequate assess risk and their own abilities.
Relationships are risky. You might not get bloody like from crashing your bike, but you get emotional hurts and bruises. And yet, if you try and avoid the hurts, and retreat into yourself, like discussed in the last blog post, you miss the opportunities!
I had one such great opportunity this past weekend. One of the publishers I was considering gave me names of a couple of their authors that I could talk to for their perspectives. As it turned out, by sheer coincidence, it turned out that Henna Pryor would be in Bend that weekend. So when I requested a 10-minute phone conversation, she responded with “We’ll be landing at Redmond about 5:30, want to grab a bite on our way to Sun River?” It turns out that Henna, founder of pryority group, is an expert on optimizing performance, and a sought-after keynote presenter and executive coach and trainer. Her new book, Good Awkward, is about how to embrace the embarrassing to become the bravest version of yourself. Because many times, it’s the potential embarrassment that stops us from taking that risky step. She wrote a much better description of our meeting and weekend that I could in a LinkedIn post. Suffice it to say, we each have a new lifelong friend. She and her husband Ian are so fascinating and accomplished in their fields. I’m sure, thanks to Sparrow Bakery, we have not seen the last of the Pryors in Bend!
So, as Henna says: make a point to meet someone new today… it might change your life (and theirs!)