Why I Want My Daughter To Take Risks

Contributed by October Blogger of the Month, Kelly Guinn

I was watching an episode of Parenthood this afternoon (I know, I referenced Gilmore Girls in my last post and Parenthood in this one.  Lo, I am very basic and my love for Lauren Graham apparently runs deep) and she said something to her daughter that resonated with me.
I can’t remember it very well, because, I have a toddler and my brain is slowly turning to mush because of it, but essentially what she said was one of the hardest parts of being a parent is coming to the realization that your children are not you.  They do not have your same problems. They do not have your same fears.
They are, in fact, their own people.
This is terrifying.
To my recollection, I was a fairly timid kid.  I never broke a bone. I was fairly mild mannered.  I was generally fearful of falling off the monkey bars and breaking my wrist.  I was terrible at tether-ball for fear of breaking my nose. And I have a vague memory of being on some sort of safety-patrol committee in grade school.
I played golf, for the love.
And this is my child:
Just climbing up the slide. As one does. She’s not even two.  She. Is. Not. Me.
It’s moments like these that give me mini heart attacks as a mother.  On the one hand, I see every possible way this could go wrong.  I don’t want her to fall. I don’t want her to fail – at this or at any other thing ever. I don’t want her to feel the pang of disappointment or rejection or any other kind of sorrow.
On the other hand – my heart swelled with pride for her as she bravely took on this slide. She giggled when she lost her footing and slid down. What a gift it is to have the mind of a child and not fear taking this chance.  To not fear failure.
Because without risk, there is no reward. Hang with me through this heavy cliche and think on that for a moment.  If we don’t let our children take risks (within safe boundaries, I would like my daughter’s grandmothers to know that her aunt and I were right there as this slide scaling was happening) then what will they learn?  I want her to be independent. I want her to be confident in her own abilities.  I want her to do big things. I want her to pursue her dreams with wild abandon. I want her to take risks.
And I want to be the mother that allows risk.
Because the reward can be pretty sweet.
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(2 seconds after this picture was snapped I, too, had climbed up there and was back to hovering and holding her hand. This risk-allowing thing is a process, people.)

Kelly Guin

Kelly is a full-time working momma to her with her one year old daughter, Genevieve. Because her life is very glamorous, she can often be found saying things like, “Please don’t wipe your nose on that” and “Please stop throwing food at mommy”. In lieu of laundry, she spends her spare time chronicling life’s (mis)adventures and celebrating mediocrity at The OK Momma. She is the managing editor of the Oklahoma City Moms Blog, and you can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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