The benefits of risk

19 February 2018
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I read with interest an article in The Age (7 February, 2018) where Fitzroy Community School principal Tim Berryman urged parents to be brave and give their children more freedom.

His comments were backed by Queensland University of Technology education lecturer Dr Rebecca English, who warned that unless we let children have some level of danger or fear, we are “not allowing the human brain to develop to the full potential”.

I too worry that the risk-averse society we’ve created is doing our children a huge disservice. That in our desire to protect our children from danger, we are denying them the very skills they need to protect themselves.

As Beaconhills College’s Beacon Explorers programs begin in earnest, I reflect on the wonderful new experiences and skills they give our students. Whether it’s their first night camping in the high country of Victoria, or crossing a busy road in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, there is always a level of risk involved. Stepping out onto a football field, or competing in equestrian competitions carries a level of risk. But it’s important to remember how much is gained – leadership skills, resilience, teamwork – and hopefully the ability to competently assess risk and make the sensible decisions.

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