Boys and Risk

Bear Grylls hits back at critics after leaving son on rocks for sea rescue.
"The survival expert argues children need to take "more risks" after being criticised for leaving son alone on rock out at sea for training rescue mission."

Bear Grylls has also come up with a manifesto for children, saying "computer games should be banned, troubled teenagers compelled to climb mountains and mandatory community service brought in for all."

Bear Grylls' Manifesto for Children
1) Get fit
2) Outdoor classes for all
3) Ban computer games
4) Climb mountains
5) Take risks
6) Community service

What do you think? Recently, the boys and I have enjoyed watching a TV documentary entitled, "Earth's Natural Wonders" which tells the stories of people surviving and thriving in some of the most dramatic and spectacular environments on earth. One of the things I have noted and mused about as we have watched is the way in which the men in these communities go out into the wilds and risk their lives to provide for their families. They go together, and the young men are initiated into manhood by joining the adventure and by being trusted and enabled to take risks by their elders. Though they are afraid, they face their fear and go forwards, spurred on, supported and encouraged by the men around them. When failure comes, they are downcast, but they try again. And when they succeed and their elders pat them on the back, affirming and cheering them on, their smiles are as wide as their faces, and their self-esteem and confidence is surely boosted too.

Our boys need not face tigers, crocodiles or killer bees in their journey towards manhood, but I find myself agreeing with Bear Grylls' assertion that "when we try to strip our kids' world of risk we do them a gross disservice. We teach them nothing about handling life. All children have a right to adventure... these moments allow children to get excited about the possibilities the world has to offer. They teach independence, initiative, self-reliance and resourcefulness: skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives."