She wanted to go on an “adventure trip” with me. She wanted to explore, do something different, maybe even dangerous in her mind. So, we set off on our bikes, with no plan or direction.
After a turn or two, I suggested that we ride over to her school. “Really!?,” she asked, realizing that would mean riding near busy streets and even crossing a couple. “Sure,” I said, “why not?” My six year old daughter beamed with excitement and giggled, although a bit nervously.
Our first walk with our bikes across the busy four lane (yes, in a crosswalk) ended in a “We made it, Daddy!!!” from my little girl. We might as well have completed the Ironman. She began to realize what seemed scary and unobtainable at one time was really within reach.
From there, we overcame challenge after challenge and wound up having a fun, two hour adventure. I took her (and myself a little) out of her comfort zone. We went places unexpected, stared fear in the face and broadened our boundaries.
My lesson to my daughter? Crash the comfort zone. Far too often, in my opinion, kids are coddled and caressed to the extent they never face their fears. The result is a group of children who become insecure, fearful, uncertain, needy, passive, weak, wishy-washy and just flat out wimpy.
Sure, breaching boundaries will sometimes result in loss (see blog post, “Let Em’ Lose”), but what will remain, win or lose, is that your child tried. He or she tried to do something they were not completely comfortable trying. Life’s opportunities become more “important” when they get older, e.g. tryouts for the team, asking her/him out, application for the big job, training for the athletic event, but it’s never to early to lead your child toward “try” rather than just “survive.”
Real life is challenging.
Prepare your kids.
Crash their comfort zone.
You owe it to them.