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Challenge: What Do Fathers Do Best?

My husband scares me.

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My husband's a good guy. A really good guy.... to say he's changed dozens of lives around the world with his medical mission work is an understatement. (He's GOOD... and not just to our little family. Ok I'm done bragging now.)

He also plays dolls with a super-squeaky-super-funny-kinda-creepy voice, can give the most industrial-strength toddler bath ever, carves a most wicked jack-o-lantern (perks of his profession, I guess) and sometimes rocks a princess crown arguably just as well as both our daughters.

But he also scares me. As a wife, as a mom and as a person who's always trying to grow beyond my comfort zone... my husband sometimes scares the crap out of me. He likes to take risks. I don't. He likes to encourage risk when it comes to parenting our young daughters. I don't. (How's that for a mom vs dad dilemma?)

Yet, his confidence and courage is probably the thing I'm starting to learn to love the most about him.

If my life up to this point had a theme, it'd be: Be Safe. Be careful. Be cautious. Reduce risk. This is how I was raised. It's served me well. I'm thankful for it. This is just a hobby, right? Every time I performed onstage as a child/teenager/young adult, I'd hear that question from either my parents or grandparents. It wasn't a bad thing. I never resented it. I just came to expect it. Knock 'em dead, have a blast, but don't let your love of entertaining seduce you into pursuing a career in entertainment. IT'S TOO HIGH-RISK, AND WE IN THIS FAMILY LIKE TO PLAY IT SAFE. (This totally contradicts my public image, I know.)

Growing up, my family didn't do risk. Mom is a teacher. Dad is a dentist. They started their careers after college and stuck with 'em. For like, 45 years. We live in a different world now, but that world - THE SAFE WORLD - is the world I grew up in... the world I found comforting and normal. Anything different than that scared me. I was raised this way, so by default, I find myself parenting this way. Protect your kids. Keep them on the path that you know. Don't take risks. Don't get hurt. Don't get yourself in a situation where you might fall on your face and not be able to recover. And although I've conditioned myself to work in a very 'high-risk-high-gain' industry, I still fear risk.

My husband on the other hand, has literally bungeed.... OFF A CLIFF IN NEW ZEALAND. (Freak. He did it before we met. I still roll my eyes when I watch the grainy video. I tell him he's not allowed to do stuff like that anymore because we want him and need him around.) He also likes to scuba dive, once owned a motorcycle and frequently travels to far away places that harbor disease all in the name of medical volunteerism. He's a risk-taker. A smart, capable and logical (most of the time, anyways) risk-taker. He's fearless... figuratively and literally.

So when this last year presented a change, a risk, for his career and opportunity, I was against it like any narrow-minded, rotten wife. Risk is not good. Stay where you are. Keep a sure thing. What are you trying to teach our kids?!?! I argued my point. I yelled my point. I cried and begged my point. All out of fear. I did not win. I'm less scared that I was a year ago, but I'm still scared. I'm scared of what might happen, what might not happen. (Old habits die hard.)

I'm also scared my daughters will turn out just like me: A 'Fraidy Cat.

My husband's philosophy for life - about how risk can be positive - scares the crap out of me. It also colors his parenting. According to him (and most capable, intelligent people who are not big chickens like me): Logical, moderate and calculated risk is what makes us evolve, excel and succeed. Thoughtful risk keeps us alive, focused and working hard. Taking risks is a part of life... and my girls need to learn this so that they can evolve, excel and succeed without being afraid of fear (like I was). I still need to learn this.

Teaching 'how to do risk' is something that only my husband can offer our girls... so I'm starting to let him do it. Up until now, I've pretty much spearheaded and steamrolled all the parenting duties (aside from the previously-mentioned, industrial-grade bath time skills). It's time for me to SHUT-UP... because this particular parenting lesson is all you, Hubs. You're teaching all of us... and doing it well. Sometimes even in a princess crown.

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