I cannot stop thinking about this video of a 10-year-old girl facing her fears at the top of a ski jump.
Her fear, her courage, her exhilaration, her pride ― the whole thing has really struck a chord in me.
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Of course, the video makes me reflect on the times when I’ve experienced similar feelings. I remember how in those moments every cell in my body vibrated with life. But it also reminded me of the times I didn’t choose the more risky option.
I’ve always been a little bit of a chicken when it comes to my physical safety but I definitely pushed myself more when I was younger.
Now that I’m a mom, I feel like I have to protect myself for my kids. I worry about what they would do without me and that leads to making safe choices.
But as I watch this fourth grader overcome her fears, I think about how much this experience will mean to her in the future; she’ll always have this as a reference point when she comes up against something scary or difficult. She’ll be able look back on this and say, “Well, I did that and the worst part was the anticipation at the top.”
I know I want that perspective for my 8-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. I know I want them to take risks.
Maybe not every day, maybe not ski-jumping, definitely not in an extreme-sports-kind-of-way, but I deeply hope that they will push themselves to their limits, facing down fear with whatever tools are at their disposal and enjoying the tremendous rush that comes from attempting scary things and getting to the other side of them.
So if I want that for my kids, I have to honestly look at my own relationship with risk and say that yes … I play it safe. A lot.
I wonder if the mother of that courageous 10-year-old does things that scare her on a regular basis, and if so, how does that play into her child’s choice to be brave?
And I have to ask myself another question: Am I doing enough? Or do I need to make some changes in my life so my daughter and son are encouraged to make their own brave decisions?