Risking on Purpose

It won’t be long now until many children and young people are either starting or returning to schools and other educational establishments following the summer break, (wondering if perhaps this might need to be renamed as certainly can’t describe the weather outside right now and for the majority of the holidays as ‘summery’). And trying something for the first time or moving on to a new class or phase of education and life can feel both unsettling and exciting.

I’m also mindful of how some of the things I have recently chosen to do have also felt a bit scary and challenging, but also liberating and positive. And these actions remind me of the term in Protective Behaviours called ‘risking on purpose’ which is part of a continuum of safety and can be described as feeling the fear and choosing to do it anyway because the outcome could be well worth it.

When trying to talk about future events, having a term like ‘risking on purpose’ to describe an action, I think, can feel and be really helpful – I have vivid memories of hearing many young children telling me how they ‘risked on purpose’ today by, for example, walking across a balance beam, putting their hand up to answer a question posed in class or trying  a new food, especially if it was something I’d cooked!

So I would like to take this opportunity to send well-wishes for whatever comes next in terms of education. learning and life. I’d also like to urge people of all ages and stages of development to consider ‘risking on purpose’ within the context of personal safety and find ways to feel brave enough to ‘give it a go’ even in terms of challenging established practice when our early warning signs tell us it doesn’t feel safe to either ignore or leave things the way they are: just because things have ‘always been done that way’ doesn’t mean it’s ok to carry on that way!

This poem called ‘Risk’, which can also be found in the Training Room area of the PBPeople website, I think sums it up beautifully:


To laugh is to risk being a fool
To weep is to risk being sentimental
To reach out for another is to risk involvement
To show feelings is to risk showing yourself
To place your ideas, your dreams
Before a crowd is to risk their loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return
To live is to risk dying
To hope is to risk despair
To try is to risk failure
But risks must be taken because the greatest
Hazard in life is to risk nothing
Those who risk nothing, have nothing
They may avoid suffering and sorrow
But they cannot learn, feel, change
Grow, love, live
Chained by their certainties, they are slaves
They have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks ………. is truly free.


Thank you ‘Anon’.