If there are two things I would wish upon my kids, it's that they take risks and have every opportunity to pursue their passions. My parents wanted this for us, in fact my mom's greatest hope was I would be one of the teens caught taking the role-playing game of D and D just a little too far (yes they were geeks). My mom ventured into a male-dominated arena and my dad helped start a few semiconductor companies, but from the outside the projected practicality and safety, good for a child, maybe not so much for forming a creative and risk-taking adult.
I find myself worried a lot these days, about money, health insurance, and whether I'll ever stop wanting another baby, although rarely about the kids' safety. When they were little I found myself projecting my fear of heights onto their fragile-looking bodies, standing at the bottom of the play structure in a state of panic. I realized I had to get over that and now my kids will scale the tallest rock wall in the gym and I love it. How, though, do I encourage them to continue to take risks, venture out beyond their comfort zone?
Frankly I would be thrilled if they asked to sail around the world. Let's ignore the fact that my last sailing experience was in a 12ft boat at Vasona Lake. I was a terrible sailor but it was a blast. I must have still been at it at 16 because I distinctly remember the (supposedly) tied on boat flying off the car when I came to a stop, oops. But you get the point. The other day I asked my son at what age does he think he could go by himself to pick up dinner at the local taqueria. He said 12, I countered with 10. There is a small voice, let's call him my husband, who would probably feel comfortable letting the kids walk that path when they are 21 or so, provided they had a cell-phone and karate lessons. I like to think we balance each other out. He is so outgoing though, he cannot comprehend some of our fears, like my reluctance to answer the phone, or our sons needing at least 20 minutes to feel comfortable talking to an adult (for the record, at their age there was not enough time in the world for me to ever voluntarily speak to an adult).
See that photo up there? That's me standing with Peter Pan, or the adorable guy who plays him in the 360 theatre production of JM Barrie's Peter Pan. It's a photo of me because there was no way my kids were going to pose with him, even with his cool hat. Peter Pan was always ready for an adventure. When the opportunity arises, I hope my kids are too.