Risk has always meant “a family game” played enthusiastically by my husband and his side of our family. I never learned to play it because games were very competitive in our household, and that led to many games being banned from family gatherings. Granny Johnson forbade Monopoly to be played since it often lasted days or weeks…and always ended in some controversial move!
My husband says I am not a risk taker. He’s right. I’ve always felt the “bird in the hand is better than two in the bush!” He, on the other hand, is a risk taker. Although many may feel that taking risks is a negative trait, I am well aware that Lawton Academy of Arts and Sciences would not exist if Jim wasn’t ready and able to take the risk. He also would not have had the successful thirty-year mental health practice he started when everyone told him he was crazy for quitting his government job. I believe he has always been successful in such risk taking because he was willing to hold down two and three jobs simultaneously if needed in the building process.
I do take risks in the field of curriculum development. I was so tired of poor teaching practices being called “an educational experience,” that I risked my job and reputation as I designed new ways and means of reaching children through educational games, simulations, etc. Much of this seems “old-hat” now, but it wasn’t when I began fifty-four years ago. I proved over and over that a child can learn anything if it is put into his language level, and if it can be made into a game format.
I am very aware that my risk-taking was also buffered by wonderful school board members who encouraged me, and who did not demand that things be done “the way we always have done them.” I delighted in getting children to take risks that would cause them to be “smarter than the average bear!” They always tell people “that” is my goal for them…to make them smarter than the average bear. I always laugh when one of the preschoolers looks up and asks, “Just how smart is an average bear?”
I guess I also have assurance that good risks make life more interesting. Progress just doesn’t fall out of the sky…someone has to take a risk! As I have said so often in this blog space, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” If non-Christians only knew the power we have through prayer, they would never doubt God’s love again. So, instead of thinking about taking risks in life, I consider that God has a plan for my life which I can discover through my relationship with Him. That plan leads my efforts to success as I put my trust in Him and in the Bible I read daily. The book of Proverbs is full of the wisdom God offers us. Read it and you will find that we can be successful in life without counting on chance or taking foolish types of risks.