On daredevils, adventures and rites of passage

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Colton is the daredevil of the family. I’m not sure where he gets it —certainly not from me—but I’m convinced daredevilism (is that a real word?) must be a part of one’s DNA. Once you have it, it’s hard to shake. As is the memory of one of Colton’s most memorable stunts.

From where I stood that day, Colton was 100 feet off the ground if he was 10, climbing among the branches of a (very) tall pine tree. And after yelling for him to come down—and threatening to kill him if he fell—all I could do was hold my breath and pray to St. Michael the Archangel for his protection. Why St. Michael? Because the tree was on the property of an Episcopal church bearing said archangel’s name. At least he had that going in his favor.

Whether or not it was divine protection, he made it out of the tree that day, his quest for adventure following him all the way back down.

I mention this because I recently read an article on the dangerous things we should let our kids do. And since Colton has been a quintessential daredevil for years, I thought it might be fun, scary, or otherwise insightful to see how his stunts stacked up when compared to the list — and prep myself for the ones he hadn’t pulled, lest he see the list as well and decide to get busy.

Other stunts that stand out

Prior to his tree-climbing fame, he had a couple of good (and by good I mean bad) wipe-outs on his electric dirt bike. A year or so after the tree incident, he tore up his shoulder after jumping a ramp on his bike (and wrecking). That one was bested by the broken elbow from a trampoline spill.

There were also countless falls and hits and trips on the ice during his days in hockey—not to mention a few stays in the penalty box. Such is the life of the adventurous young boy.

And here’s the real kicker. We were lucky, he and I. Not only because he survived without life-threatening injuries, but because he’d had the experiences in the first place.

Isn’t that what childhood is all about? Learning and experimenting and testing boundaries? Pushing yourself farther than you would if you knew any better?

Sure it’s scary. And sometimes it’s a little dangerous. But as parents, I’d like to think we’re smart enough to know what our kids are capable of, astute enough to step in when they go overboard, and hopefully brave enough to allow them to test their own limits from time to time.

I admit, it’s easy for me to say—Colton has already checked off 21 of the 23 stunts. All that’s left for him to do is to squash a penny on the railroad tracks. Well, that and jump off a cliff. But that can be our little secret. 😉

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