Posted by: Kate | August 11, 2009

Let Them Try

A year or two ago, my husband saw a talk on TED that he loved. It was called 5 dangerous things for kids, and was given by Gever Tulley. You can see it here. We figure we have done 4 of the 5 dangerous things, as we haven’t let our son drive.

We have always subscribed to the “let them try” camp. Within reason, of course, we don’t want our son to come to grave harm or anything. But we do believe that you have to let children try to do things. This camping trip was a good example for us. Day one Bush Boy wanted to ride his bike in the very low river. I knew what was likely to happen, but let him give it a try. He ended up wet, but pretty proud of himself for how far he made it. And I did make sure he wasn’t further up where the fish were, this was a very shallow area where lots of people gather.

river biking

He is a pocket knife collector – at last count he had five different pocket knives, and he still has more he wants to buy. He spent one evening whittling an arrow to make a bow and arrow set. No fingers were cut.


My mum brought one of her kayaks to the lake. Bush Boy was desperate to try it out, so off he went. Dad was nearby on his pontoon fishing boat, but we sent the boy out into the bay with a little instruction and a life jacket, and minimal fussing over whether he could do it, how far he could go, etc. Turns out, he’s a natural.


Every family has their own level of comfort. But I know that he wants to take these risks, and when I allow him to do it now, with some instruction and guidance, I won’t worry so much later when he’s off with friends and they want to try these things out. These three things were major highlights of that camping week for him, let me tell you, the three things he wanted to tell people about when we got back.


  1. I’m here cheering…..I think that is awesome.

  2. You rock!

    Youngest Son is at “camp” this week and there has been much talk about pocket knives. Bush Boy has inspired me to make my Girl Scouts safety pitch and then let him at it.

    Breath deep…

  3. Good for you, Bush Boy! and good for you, Kate and Mr Kate.

  4. My husband and I saw that same talk. Although it often makes me cringe, we try to do the same thing.

  5. Good for you!

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