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Live the adventure
Live the adventure
Scott Dunlop
Morning, awesome parents!

The best way to avoid something bad happening is to do nothing. The hermit approach is one solution for avoiding life’s hurts and disappointments. The trouble is, it’s also the most effective way of removing opportunities for learning, happiness and pleasure. I have to say, it’s a lesson I learn repeatedly- even more so as a parent.

As a child I had a pet rat. I loved animals of all sorts but my parents had limited me to Adrian the rat. He died quite unexpectedly, and I was crushed. You wouldn’t believe it, but I am quite a softy, so it hit me badly. I am sure many of you have had to help your kids through the grief of losing a pet.

A couple of weeks ago we adopted a dog, and I realised that the reason I’d been avoiding getting a dog was not the hassle of cleaning up or the responsibilities of feeding one, but rather that I was afraid: afraid that I’d fall in love with a dog only to have it die.

My lovely little dachshund will die. But he’s so much fun to be with that the fear of that happening is gone. We will enjoy the time that we have with him. We don’t avoid friendships and family out of fear that people will die, because if we did, ironically, we’d not be living ourselves. We will enjoy every slobbery greeting and every longing stare we get while we eat supper from little Presley.

It’s a healthy approach to my parenting, too. Restricting my kids out of a fear that some imaginary calamity awaits isn’t helpful to them. Of course, I will do my best to reduce any risks to them, but if I am too overprotective they’ll lose that natural inquisitiveness (or rebel completely!).
My daughter had her school camp last week. It’s hard to tell your child to have a fantastic time without showing your unease, but she made it back safely with some stories to tell. She was more concerned that she’d missed the dog. A new experience.

I’ve had fun conversations about scars with the kids. They remember how they got that little line on the shin or the ridge on a knuckle. The stories about scars are told with pride. Now they’re obviously not going to go and hurt themselves in order to get more scar stories, but they don’t avoid the gravel paths that grazed them, either.

There are some people who refuse to have children out of the conviction that bringing a child into this world is cruel- how can we expose a human to such potential suffering- and I respect that choice. There is cruelty out there on a grand scale, but there’s also life to be lived, passions to be pursued and joy to be uncovered.

Enjoy the adventure!
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