Fear of The Unknown
When our boys were young and starting kindergarten, the first day of school was terrifying. Not for them, but for me. They’d be away from me for THREE WHOLE HOURS. Would they be safe? Would the other children be nice to them? Would they hurt themselves on the playground? Yes, yes and yes.
On one especially memorable first day of kindergarten (and we’ve only had two), I got a call partway through the morning, informing me that I needed to come pick up my younger son and “bring a change of clothes.” That got me worried. It turned out he’d fallen off the monkey bars, cracked open his forehead, which, in the customary manner of head wounds, had bled profusely. Hello, E.R.
Slacker Moms Unite
As the boys have aged (like a powerful cheese), I’ve become much more of a lax, slacker mom. The boys are very self-sufficient and they like it that way. A worrying, hovering mom is nothing but an annoyance. Our oldest son leaves the house each day at 6:25 a.m. to catch the school bus and most days we wake up just as he departs.
Our younger son has it better, he doesn’t leave until 7:00 a.m. But this year, he has no bus. In order to save money, our school district stopped providing buses for middle school students living less than 3 miles from the school. We live 3.5 miles from the school, but the district says we live two miles from the school (as the crow flies, because that’s how we get there, right?). This left us with a dilemma, one that woke me from my slacker mom stupor and got me thinking about risk.
How Much Risk is Acceptable?
Now to our son, who loves to bicycle, three miles is nothing. Nothing, when it’s a Saturday morning and he’s out riding with family or participating in an organized ride. But three miles, at age 13, is a lot when you’re carrying a heavy backpack, wearing school clothes and it’s still dark outside (at least come October). It’s also a lot when you have to cross a busy road, choked with drivers trying to get to work and annoyed by all the increased traffic turning into the middle school parking lot. We looked at the benefits of him riding his bike, we looked at the risks, and we decided to drive.
Jumping Right In
I’ve written about risk before. The risk of going into something blind, of skiing where you shouldn’t, of taking chances against the better advice of authority. Risk scares me. Not the risks I take, but the risks I imagine my kids taking. Yet, in their relatively short lives, the biggest risks to which they have been exposed have largely been instigated by me.
With an unceasing, and unearned, sense of bravado, I’ve taken them backpacking and turned up the wrong canyon (we never did find the right trail). I’ve pointed down a mountain from 12,000 feet and suggested that instead of going back on the trail we know, we follow the unknown trail and try to end up at the trailhead we can see way, way below (it looked close – as the crow flies). No first-hand experience and no map in hand, just a sense that “this would be fun, wouldn’t it?” It wasn’t. My husband, who didn’t join us, ended up calling the county sheriff and reporting us missing (but really, really, we were FINE!).
If nothing else, many of the risks my kids been exposed to have come from my idea of “fun” and my enthusiasm for exploration. Hiking is walking, right? How can we get hurt? How can we put ourselves in danger? (Here’s one way from my pre-kid days – shortcutting a 14’er – don’t try it. It’s kind of embarrassing when you get back on the trail and someone says to you, ‘I saw you up there and thought you were going to die.’)
No More Stupid
We all have different responses to risk. Some risk, we think through and manage. Other risk, we imagine and it manages us. And then there’s the risk we don’t even recognize. The risk, wrapped up as fun, the risk wrapped up in living. This is the risk that makes life exciting. This risk is good, when it’s not stupid. And it’s not stupid when it’s thought through.
So, welcome back school! While my sons will be thinking about complicated math and AP biology, I’m going to work on thinking things through and tempering my enthusiasm with hard-nosed reality. Well, just a little, until the next trail beckons.
This post was inspired both by the many neighborhood conversations about how to get our kids to school this year and by an advertising inquiry.
Earlier this summer an Australian life insurance company, GIO, contacted me with information about why moms (or in their case, mums) need life insurance. They sent me a well-written and informative post outlining the facts. My husband, who owns an insurance agency, concurred with their reasoning.
Instead of just posting their information, I decided to write a post about risk from a personal perspective. I have. And now I’m sharing the primary points made by GIO. If you don’t already have life insurance, or one of its various accident and illness permutations, check them out. Even better, if you live in Australia, contact GIO.
Reasons Why You Need Life Insurance If You’re a Mom (according to GIO)
- To protect your income if you are unable to work (income protection insurance)
- To allow you time to recuperate after a serious accident, if you are unable to work (accidental injury insurance)
- To protect your business if you are unable to work due to illness or accident (business expenses insurance)
- To pay off family debts and help your family get back on their feet after your death (life insurance)
As you can see life insurance, isn’t just life insurance, it’s lifestyle protection insurance as well. For more information contact your insurance agent. Heck, you can even contact mine.
© 2012, Kristen Lummis. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.Google+