by Stacey Valley, Miss October 2015
My six-year-old Maya, probably like most kids her age, is hesitant in trying new things. She’ll hold onto my leg with shy nervousness when meeting someone new or doing something unfamiliar. It’s an area that we are working on together. I want her to feel comfortable taking risks. I don’t want her apprehension lead to missed adventures.
Childhood is a time of wonder and exploration. It’s a time to climb trees and scrape knees. Of course, there need to be healthy boundaries, but as parents we shouldn’t “bubblewrap” their kids. Children who take risks learn how success feels and how to cope with failures. With your help, they will learn how to process all the emotions that risk can bring. And they will learn to persevere.
Soon after Maya turned three years old, we set off on an adventure of a lifetime – a 13-day trip to Italy just the two of us flying Space A (military stand-by flights). It was a risk traveling with a toddler to a foreign country without reserved commercial seats, and as expected it was a rollercoaster of highs and lows.
High: Maya was a trooper traveling by plane. I just had to keep her well stocked with snacks and movies. She even made a friend on the long flight over.
Low: Maya got food poisoning and puked all over a train car of Italians.
High: Even when she was feeling yucky, gelato hit the spot.
Low: Maya slept through some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever witnessed.
High: She bounced back, and we rode a bike along the Italian coast.
I hope she’ll remember that trip and that it instilled in her a sense of adventure. It was a bucketlist trip of mine for sure. Now I want to help Maya create her own kid bucketlist – a list that will challenge her, lead her to trust in her own judgment, and nudge her to try new things.