Welcome to The Daily Kind, where we help you stay inspired to raise humans ready for anything.
I'm Kirk Wheeler. It's April 13th, 2021. I'm so glad you're here.
In many aspects of life, there's a blurry line between things that are closely related, tangerines and cuties come to mind, but sometimes these lines have very real world consequences. Like the line between being courageous and being foolish.
And what we want to try to do is make sure that courage stays the root.
“It is stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognize danger when it is close upon you.”― Arthur Conan Doyle
SFX OF POOL AND LIFEGUARD WHISTLE
Here in Southern California, it's getting warm and it's starting to feel like summer. And growing up I spent many of my summers as a lifeguard, and I remember one summer in particular when I was a senior in high school, when I was working in a YMCA pool in San Angelo, Texas, and we had a group between like pre-schoolers and third grade who would come in every day to swim.
And every week it would be a new class of summer campers. And what they had to do on Monday was take a swim test. Now I have to believe them, and so do the counselors when they say, sure, I can swim. So we would line up and we'd get in the deep end. I would stand there and I would ask them as they got in line, because of course, everybody wants to be able to swim in the deep end because that's where the diving board is.
So I would say, I need you to swim across the pool, can you do it? And nine out of 10 times, the answer would be yes, and they would swim across with no problem, but every week without fail, about 1 out of 10 would look up and say yes, and they would jump in and they would simply sink and we would have to pull them out, every time.
And I'm not picking on them for being foolish. They have to learn. But every time when I think about that story and I picture those kids jumping in and turning around and looking at me struggling, as they realize they can't swim and there is no bottom and I'll have to pull them out. I think about this line between foolishness and courage, I'm sure they just wanted to go off the diving board and maybe they thought they could swim better than they did.
But for them to jump in the deep end and have no idea how to get across, it's just foolish. And throughout my life, I've taken this as a great reminder of what risk-taking should look like. You want to be able to jump in the deep end, but you also need to have some skills before you do.
So what's the takeaway? (VO: I hope nobody took away the diving board. I love cannon balls.)
How can you help the humans you are raising learn to recognize the line between foolishness and courage. One thing my dad always shared with me was those stories from the Darwin awards. Now there are many people who have done many foolish things that have ended very tragically, and we can collectively learn from their mistakes. We don't have to repeat them. This is not to say that I haven't done my fair share of pretty stupid things, but at some level I've tried and failed enough times by taking small risks that I've been better able to gauge the bigger ones when I need to. And this is a skill that can be learned. All you need to do is survive.
I hope you find this helpful. Be sure to take care of yourself today, hydrate. And remember, there is no perpetual parenting playbook. We're all learning as we go. And with curiosity as our map and the willingness to be brave and not foolish, we can be ready for anything.
So good luck. You've got this. I'm rooting for you.