No Risk, No Consequences, No Adventure?
Does adventure need risk? Out for a mountain walk on the Isle of Arran we came across some stepping stones. The kids realised they didn’t have to cross them; you can walk round them. As Hannah paused to decide what to do, the moment got me thinking about some fundamentals about risk and adventure…
Risk and adventure
“There’s a little bridge over there, or you can take the stepping stones,” I explain as we approach the edge of the stream.
It’s an unusually fine Scottish Spring day and our group of family and friends are straggled out along the heather strewn path that leads down from Corrie Lochan to the rocky West coast of the Isle of Arran.
“Can I take the bridge, like mum?” asks Hannah.
Kirstie’s already on the bridge; it sometimes seems she’s hard wired that way. But I don’t want the kids to blindly follow in her footsteps, not without considering the alternative. She probably feels the same way about me.
Stepping stones look more fun
I pause. “You could take the bridge. But the stepping stones look more fun.”
Hannah eyes up the water and the gaps between the stones. “But what if I fall in?”
I say nothing and let her weigh it up. She doesn’t need me to tell her the consequences.
Does she really need me?
“Can I hold your hand?” she finally asks, swatting a midge off her nose.
Of course she could. But I think she can manage it herself, without me.
“But what if I fall in?” I ask.
She giggles. I think she’d like that. It’s unlikely but not impossible; I might fall in, I might get wet. There’s risk and consequences. And that’s the point. Without that where’s the adventure?
But it’s HER choice…
But perhaps things look different with five year old legs, a mum on a bridge and little experience of stepping stones. Truth be told, the risks are different for Hannah. Falling in is possible, maybe even likely. But no-one ever died of wet feet. Did they?
The giggling subsides as Hannah hesitates on the edge. She looks over to mum, heading off down the hill, and takes a deep breath…..
What do you think? Can you have an adventure without risk or consequences? Do you encourage your kids to take calculated risks? Or prefer to wrap them in cotton wool?
As an adventurous family we have written a lot about adventure over the years. For more on the subject check out these posts: