Writing the post about Gever Tulley’s Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do) made us wonder about dangerous things adults SHOULD do in order to explore and learn about the world, figure out what’s what and live fully, just like Tulley thinks kids should do. And that made us think about the very notion of DANGER because, once you become an adult, dangers and fears become a really quirky personal thing: What seems dangerous and challenging to one adult might seem like a piece-of-cake to another, way beyond the obvious challenges like sky-diving or climbing Everest. It can seem dangerous to travel to a foreign country, write something, paint something, not wear make-up, live alone, go camping, learn to swim, buy a house, improvise a dish, love…

And that brings us to the idea of REAL danger versus perceived danger, and the IDEAS that stop us from doing something we want to do.

So we’ve come to think that a good thing for an adult to learn is to gently put aside a fear here and there – not try to get rid of it, but do what we fear anyway, or even just take a step toward doing something we fear. And gradually step-by-step we find ourself not being so daunted, or even feeling pretty liberated, or doing something amazing. And, just like kids, in the doing, we learn…

(This is one those one idea-leading-to-another posts that asks more questions than it answers…it is what some folks call “an inquiry”, an idea we’re mulling and exploring. We invite you to comment and add your 2-cents..)

photo via Creative Commons License

Related post: 5(0) Dangerous Things Your Kids (and You) Should Do

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4 replies on “dangerous things an adult should do

  1. aaaah yes, an inquiry, also known as the process of introspection.

    i’m compelled to suggest that the idea of feeling danger is rooted in fear…for me, the deepest inquiry regarding today’s post, would be about fear itself. And, the possibility all fear is ultimately connected to the “big fear” we call physical death…and also other “deaths” as well…relationships, jobs, life as we know it, etc.

    the thing i have discovered about fear is to be CURIOUS about it…yes, inquire/ask about it, spend time with it, be gentle with it, own it. I’ve found the process alone of giving it some time and attention can lead to a kind of liberation, explained or unexplained.

    i am reminded that my fear is separate from me…just kind of moving through (for good reason probably) and I have a CHOICE as to how to what to do with it.

    i do think its true that perceived fear is generally worse than its counterpart in reality

    was there ever a time in your life when fear led to something wonderful, expansive, new?

    also, interesting to note the seeming fearlessness of small children…what has been the role of fear in who we are today…gosh, we have all looked fear in the eye so many times we couldn’t keep count!

    yes, I would agree, that an aspect of maturity would include the effective use of fear as an opportunity to support our expansion, well being and freedom.

    clearly, lots coming from here today!

    a toast to the potential joy in facing fear!


  2. Jody, thank you for your amazing comment, tracking the way this idea of fear moves, its many threads, and your many wise words, especially “I’ve found the process alone of giving it some time and attention can lead to a kind of liberation, explained or unexplained.”

  3. My father used to take me rock climbing when I younger than six. I’m pretty sure now those cliff faces weren’t more than 10 or 15 feet high at most but for a little kid, those rocks were pretty high and I could have gotten hurt if I fell. Probably not killed though.

    Dad spent a lot of time teaching me the Three Point Method of climbing and the very old saying “Trees and roots are dead men’s parachutes.” He also told me (after I protested at one point that I was scared)

    “Fear is a good thing honey. It makes you pay attention to what you are doing.”

    I think that last one was the most important lesson. It’s stuck with me my whole life and I do find it to be true to this day. When I’m afraid of conditions on the road, I pay more attention to my driving. When I’m worried about losing my job, I pay more attention to my performance. When I’m concerned about the condition of my marriage, I pay more loving attention to my husband.

    Fear IS a good thing.

  4. Sounds like your daddy is a very wise man…

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