Friday, June 7, 2013

Taking Responsible Risks

What is a responsible risk?  According to the information on this Habit of the Mind, it means being adventuresome and trying new things constantly.  In other words stretching yourself, yet fully understanding your own level of competence so you are not reckless.  So, if you are new at climbing mountains you probably don’t want to start with Mt. Everest, you want to work your way toward that goal. 

Angeles Arrien in her book The Four Fold Way describes this as the way of the teacher.  In her essay on Four Ways of Wisdom she states, “The task of the teacher is to be open, rather than attached, to outcomes. Openness and non-attachment helps us recover the human resources of wisdom and objectivity. The teacher's way is to access wisdom by learning how to trust and be comfortable with states of not knowing. Trust is the container out of which the qualities of wisdom grow clarity, objectivity, discernment and detachment.  The opposite of trust is control.

 [When you are] presented with surprises and the unexpected [it tends to wake you out of your] routines and shocking [you] into seeing [your] attachments.

Denis Waitly, a well-known motivational speaker, says it this way, “Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”   He goes on and talks about what happens to ships who remain in the harbor, planes that are grounded, homes that are unlived in, and ultimately people who stay “safe” by living in the same routine.

If we were to review the LIAS (Learning in Afterschool and Summer) Principles we would find this notion there as well.  It is principle number 5, “Learning that Expands Horizons”  In its descriptor we find this, “Afterschool and summer program should provide learning opportunities that take youth beyond their current experience and expand their horizons.  They should go beyond the walls of their facilities to increase young people’s knowledge of their surround neighborhood and the larger global community.” 

How are you helping youth to step out of their comfort zone?  How are filling the role of the teacher?  How are you helping youth to “leave the harbor”?  Share this information with us.  

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