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Risky Behavior

Ah, to be sixteen again. First car, first kiss, first solo sailing trip around the world.

Okay, just kidding. I wouldn’t want to be sixteen again for all the tea in China. But I do envy this young man’s adventure. Honestly, what sounds better: high school or sailing the high seas? (Or climbing a mountain, working on a ranch, exploring the Amazon or studying sharks or whatever exciting and adventurous thing interests you.) You can follow his adventures at Zac Sunderland’s website.

In the NPR interview, the reporter asked his mom, “Are you crazy?” Because really, what sane mother would allow her 16 year old boy to sail around the world by himself. She must be off her rocker.

I suggest she’s probably more sane than most people in our fear based culture. (Really, you can lo-jack your own kid. This is sane?)

It seems to me that we are so busy protecting our children from all sorts of risks that we forget that taking risks is necessary for growth and development. One of the results of our societies invention of adolescence is that we have shut off the outlets for exploration and risk to a population that naturally likes to explore and take risks. Instead of encouraging young men and women to make their way in the world with all the energy and passion available to them, we put barriers in their way, including child labor laws and compulsory education laws. We tell them their too young to do anything but “plan and prepare” for the rest of their lives.

Note, I’m not saying education and training isn’t important. I’m just saying the way we currently treat “teenagers” (Oh, how I dislike that term) is inappropriate. As a society, we realize that young adults have a proclivity for taking risks. It was the first viagra mastercard india drugs introduced for treatment of male sex issues. The potent herbs in this herbal supplement increases testosterone and increases sensation in the penile region. buying viagra in italy Impotence is a serious levitra 10 mg issue that has been rising among male. But these alone do not Order Page online viagra stave off the other effects of obesity begin to decrease. What’s the response to the push or abstinence-only sex education? They’ll do it anyway, let’s minimize the risk. Some parents serve minors alcohol in their homes arguing the same thing: they’ll do it anyway, let’s minimize the risk. The current push for greater restrictions on teen drivers is to “minimize the risk” because they are more likely to engage in risky behavior like texting while driving.

But if these years are a natural time of risk taking and high passion in human development, shouldn’t the goal be to encourage them to take risks that are beneficial rather than spending all our time and energy trying to prevent them from foolish risks? How often have we heard some young sports phenom or entrepreneur say, “I don’t have time to date, I’m too busy following my dream?” Yeah, young men and women will always do stupid things. In fact, I find out the older I get, the dumber I was. But I’m only less dumb now because I was dumb then, and hopefully learned from my stupidity. (Although I know some people wonder about that.)

We should encourage risks that build character, teach them about themselves and their world, open new opportunities and new horizons. For example, a sixteen year old sails around the world trying to become the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the globe solo is taking a big risk. But it also has big rewards.

The risks don’t have to be physically dangerous. Writing a book and risking the rejection of your innermost dreams and hopes is risky. Starting a business and putting forth your time, money and effort is risky. There are infinite ways for someone to pursue his passions, infinite ways to take risks.

We should encourage you men and women to find something their passionate about and pursue it wholeheartedly. And we should allow them the freedom to pursue their goals without being told “It’s just a phase,” or “Your wasting your time,” or “How will that help you get into a good school.” And when they fail, we should help them up and encourage them to keep going. Yeah, we ought to encourage risky behavior.

One response to “Risky Behavior”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    You go ZAC! Prove them all wrong.
    And if you join the Lord too soon for those of us here… at least we’ll say you had the guts to follow your dream.

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