What’s the worst best that could happen?

I am deliberately trying to be an uncautious parent.

 At a drop-in parent’s group we attended a few days ago, one mother worried about whether she should tell her child’s name to strangers she encountered while walking in her neighbourhood.  Another told us we should remove any fleece liners we may have put in our car seats “because they weren’t recommended by the manufacturer”.

American culture has become obsessed with safety and abhorrent of risk.  We end up spending way more to avoid misfortune than the misfortune would ever end up costing.  Not only is this bad math, but we’re also missing out on the flip side: instead of asking what’s the worst that could happen, ask: what’s the best?

If you tell that stranger your child’s name, maybe he’ll be able to smile and wave and say hello to your daughter every single day.  If you use that fleece blanket, maybe your child won’t cry every time she gets in the car.

Instead of worrying about avoiding that single giant horrible thing, I’m going to work hard to create a million tiny wonderful things. 


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2 Responses to “What’s the worst best that could happen?”

  1. Kate Says:

    Amen to that!!

  2. Heather Says:

    From a practical angle, the degree to which parents are cautious about their children these days could very well be breeding weaker children. National Geographic just did a feature on a new study about farm kids; the theory is that farm kids are overall healthier than non-farm kids, because they’re running around in the out-of-doors, putting weird stuff into their mouths, being exposed to all kinds of germs, and it makes them hardy. There are also studies about the rise in “allergies” affecting children, now that we’re super-cautious of when we introduce certain foods into our kids’ diets. Anecdotal: My parents didn’t have any such advice when they were raising my brother and me. They weren’t at all concerned about when we should have cow milk or peanuts or tomatoes or whatever, and we both grew up to be perfectly healthy kids. Additionally, we grew up eating ANYTHING, which I put down to two things: the Three Bite Rule (you must have three decent bites of something before you choose not to eat any more) and the Happy Baby Food Grinder (which my parents used to grind up whatever the heck they were eating for dinner into a baby-friendly paste — enchiladas with hot sauce, stir fry, gumbo, whatever).

    So what I’m saying is: I applaud your attitude.

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