I want my kids to be careless

I want my kids to be careless.

I want my kids to be careless

I know that sounds odd. I’m actually cringing just thinking about it.

I mean, I pride myself on being anything but careless. I pride myself on making thoughtful decisions. Careless makes me squirm.

Besides, how many times a day do I tell my kids to “be careful?”

Be careful!

Would you just be careful!

You better be careful!

You’re going to give me a heart attack. Please be careful.

You see, by nature, kids are careless. Kids are reactionary. They live in the moment. They don’t often think about what will happen 5 seconds down the road, let alone 5 months or 5 years.  They don’t make a pros and cons list or phone a friend to make a decision, they just do.

In fact, this is one of the behaviors that separate kids from adults. Adults assess a situation, and consider the risks and benefits before doing anything.

That’s great. That’s responsible. That’s how I roll. But I actually want to be more like my kids.

My kids see the ocean and they just want to run and jump in and have fun.

They want to enjoy the moment.

I see the ocean and I want to know what the temperature of the water is. Are there shells that will cut my feet? Has anyone seen any jellyfish? Have there been any shark sightings?

I mean, kids are careless because they have no fear…at least initially. Over time they are taught to be afraid and by the time kids become adults, fear dictates much of what they do.

You see, one of the definitions of careless is free from anxiety.

Free from anxiety. In other words, free from fear and worry. And there…right there…is the reason I want my kids to be careless.

The opposite of careless isn’t careful, the opposite of careless is fearful.

And that’s the real reason I always try to make “thoughtful” decisions. I’m afraid of making a mistake. I’m afraid of unintended consequences. So, often I spend so much time analyzing that I never actually do anything.

Kids see a person in the street asking for money and food and their “careless” reaction is to want to feed them. This person needs to eat. Let’s give them food.

Adults lock their car doors. Adults walk on the other side of the street. Adults try to figure out how the person got there…what wrong choices did they make…if I give them money what will they use it for? Is that the best use of my money? What if they try to snatch me out of my car?

I’ve noticed that world changers are often a bit careless.

World changers react. World changers do. World changers try to make a difference right here and now. World changers are about action and they don’t let fear dictate every move. They act in spite of fear. World changers feed the hungry without thinking.

I don’t want my kids to be completely careless, that’s silly. I just don’t want them to care too much about the wrong things. Caring about the wrong things creates fear. Fear cripples.

I don’t want my kids to become so cautious that they can’t live in the moment. I want them to be wise, but I don’t want them to let fear talk them out of doing something amazing, from helping people in need…from becoming world changers…from jumping in the ocean.

Instead, I want them to be a bit careless.

And I want to become a little more careless too.

– Stephen

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