2 Aug
2015
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Partaking in Risky Behavior

Man standing on a lake pier at sunset

Apparently, I’m a risk-taker.

Each summer, for seven years, we’ve welcomed a visiting Challenger Sports soccer coach in town for a British soccer camp. The coaches we’ve hosted are young men between the ages of 18-23. They need a place to call home for seven days. This week during camp, a mother I don’t know wanted to talk about hosting. More precisely, she wanted to talk about how negligent I was being.

I was asked if I thought I was being risky and didn’t I think it was dangerous to bring a strange man into my home with my family and how would I feel if something bad happened. For starters, no one has ever used the words risky and dangerous to describe me. Those who know me would have found the conversation laughable. I’m about as cautious as people come.

She raised valid points, but hosting a soccer coach from a reputable company who has to jump through numerous government hoops to work in this country is not akin to me stopping a strange man on the streets and offering him a room. We’re not reckless.

When we first decided to host seven years ago, we had three small boys under the age of six, and I was ginormously pregnant with our daughter. I researched Challenger Sports before checking the box on the registration form confirming we were interested in hosting a coach. The closer we became to camp, the more I worried. I never once thought I was putting us in danger or risking anything. Merriam-Webster defines risk as “possibility of loss or injury” and “someone or something that suggests a hazard.” I was concerned the coach wouldn’t like my cooking and quite frankly, wouldn’t like my family. I didn’t and don’t believe I have anything to lose.

If I’m going to be labeled a risk-taker, then I’m going to take those risks on people. Opening yourselves to people is risky. People can be disappointing, heartbreaking, infuriating, lazy and ignorant. People can also be up-lifting, responsible, caring, loving, funny and brilliant. Taking care of people I know isn’t risky. It’s easy to support a loved one. It’s much harder to take in those where there is no connection.

I want my children to understand the meaning of hospitality and be generous with what they have to give. I might one day need someone else to open their home and hearts to one of my children. Each of these coaches we’ve brought into our family is the son of someone. They have a mum across the ocean who hopes there are people taking care of her son.

This world needs more risk-taking. We need to take care of one another and reach out to other people because we have the common thread of being people who need relationship and love.

 

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