Sometimes people judge, and label parents as reckless. As parents, we make decisions that are thought out – we choose not to wrap out kids in cotton wool. Each of our children’s personalities suggests they will live lives of adventure. As parents, we believe we have a limited period of time to teach them to do this in the safest way possible. We could try to mould them into people that lead ‘safe’ lives but we don’t believe that will work, nor do we want them to grow up scared to pursue their dreams. There is enough in this world to fear without including an adventurous life led as safely as possible.
I know better than most that leading a seemingly risk free life is no guarantee of safety. On the day of my accident, I was doing a leisurely ride with my 4 young children. We weren’t taking any risks. I went down a hill easily cleared by my 5 year old son. It didn’t work out so well for me. The family driving to Grandma’s 80th birthday on a Friday night and taken out by a drunk driver were not taking any risks. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns that we can not predict or control.
My kids were going to skydive one day whether we liked it or not. We chose to share the experience with them, allowing them to jump in the busiest drop zone in the country with the best safety record. They may have chosen to jump at 18, while on a budget that meant cheap was best. Instead we made sure they had the safest and most enjoyable experience possible, while creating wonderful family memories.
Anything we do with our kids, we do in the safest way possible. We minimise the risks wherever we can. For example when snow skiing they wear the best protective gear available and only ski down runs that are safe for them based on their level of skill. When we wakeboard, they are only ever towed by drivers with great skill and knowledge that we trust completely. Does this mean they’ll never get hurt? Unfortunately not. Statistics though indicate they are more likely to be hurt being driven on our roads.
Katie is learning to drive. She is doing incredibly well. She is by no means perfect, but she is at a point where she listens carefully to Steve’s instructions and is able to follow them effectively. When getting their hours up, kids are encouraged to drive on all road types, under all conditions. The sooner they do this, the better the chance that they will be confident to drive anywhere. Canberra is a big country town so getting experience driving in the ‘city’ is a bit more difficult. Steve decided based on her ability that she was safe to make the fairly straightforward trip to the airport.
I have had an experience many won’t get. I literally got to choose between life and death. Steve and I together, chose life. We chose to bring up our kids together, however that may look. So in effect these 4 little people, entrusted to my care for their lives on earth, are my reasons for living. I love them so completely. We would never do anything we thought was dangerous with them. Similarly we would never try to squash their personalities so they fit in bubble wrap.
As Christians aren’t we meant to believe that God has a plan for each of their lives? That they don’t really belong to us but to Him? We can’t control what happens to our kids. We bring them up in a loving home. We provide for all their needs. We encourage them to develop their own personalities and sets of beliefs with our guidance. We try to keep them safe while allowing them to experience all life has to offer.
Do we have it right? Only time will tell. For now, we believe we are doing the best we can for our children. We all have our own way of parenting and our own reasons for making the decisions we make. I try really hard not to judge others for the way they parent, and hope others don’t judge us.