Where has the courage gone? Why are we so afraid? What's happened to all the fun? What are we turning into?
Our nation was founded on the actions of risk-takers, men and women who wouldn't say die. They made decisions, they ignored the doomsayers and they succeeded against all odds. And we're all so proud of Sir Edmund Hillary for conquering Mt Everest, unlike so many who'd previously died in the attempt.
The world would be a sadder place if we didn't have our heroes - those who accomplish, and those who put themselves into danger to save another person's life - and yet we discourage our kids from getting hurt... in the playground... Um, where else can kids learn bravery?
In their heart of hearts, people were designed for risk and thrill - why else would they frequent the theme parks and roller coasters and the high ropes in Taupo? How else can you explain a 47 year-old going down a flying fox upside down? (Oh yeah, there were girls present...)
And sure, OSH has its place, and work-places should be safe, but do we really need a company notice to use the hand-rail on the stairs? I know, they put it up because someone slipped and got hurt. But shouldn't they be just as concerned that, in reading the notice, we might become distracted and miss our footing? Maybe they should put up another company notice:
PLEASE READ ALL NOTICES BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO USE THE STAIRS!Where's the case for personal responsibility? And in a wider sense, while we're so busy protecting ourselves from "potential" risk, aren't we also missing opportunities and "potential" benefits?
There will always be decisions to make, forks in the road. There will always be consequences. My advice to my kids as they chose their study options for university was pretty simple:
- study something you're going to love doing; and
- will make you money; and
- will facilitate your having kids; and
- you can use to advance a cause greater than your own
So here's a thought: Faith is a belief in a certain outcome, but so is fear. It's up to me which one I choose to meditate on, which road I choose to go down. And though I can't control the future, I can influence it...
And when I get a few years down the road and circumstances turn to custard, it's my choice whether or not I compare this road's custard to what "might" have happened had I chosen the other road. Frankly, I can't afford to live with blame and regret.
We must take risks! I have...
No, I'm not talking about the time I was out on my motorbike looking for a bump to jump, and came across a railway crossing, didn't really see the Stop sign, and landed on the main road out of town, with cars coming at me from both sides...
And nor am I promoting the type of risk when I leapt into the Manawatu River from just below the height of the road. (Given the pain it caused in some parts of my anatomy, I'm pleased to say I survived to father four kids.) It's interesting to note my older brother didn't try to stop me. Maybe he just figgered it was something I had to do...
There was a time when I gave up a job and worked as a volunteer for a year to help support and restore a church who were going through difficulties. I was young and exciting, and in theory it cost me a great deal. But the long-term benefits were endless.
In contrast, I later quit a job to pursue a get-rich-quick "opportunity" and I wasn't smart enough to ask for advice. Little surprise that after three months I had no job and little money. It was of course, very good for my prayer life.
On both occasions I held tight to this one line out of one of David's songs:
"The steps of a good man are directed by the Lord, and He takes great pleasure in watching over him... and no matter how far he might fall, the Lord will never knock him over and keep him down. No Sir, He'll hold him up, he'll help him up and he'll get him going again..."In my experience, although it took time, that's exactly what happened!
Need another example? My wife and I both took a risk when we got married, though admittedly that was a "managed" risk, as we both agreed from the start that the d-word would never be in our vocabulary. Mate, was any risk ever so worth it!
So when making decisions and considering risk, of course we have to ask ourselves, "What will it cost me if I do?" But here's the bigger question: "What might it cost me if I don't?"