Yesterday our oldest son Hayden had the opportunity to represent his school at a 3 km cross-country event.
He had high expectations and started really well, but before the halfway mark he felt a twinge in his hamstring. He limped past me in obvious pain, but kept going and dropped steadily down the order, moving from 4th down to 19th.
The poor little guy was devastated at the finish line and I took him home to start the rehabilitation process.
As he sat there with ice on his leg, he played on his Nintendo DS and it occurred to me that he was safer doing that.
He couldn’t injure yourself.
He couldn’t be disappointed.
He could just stop and start again if things didn’t go right.
But that’s not what life is all about.
Life is about taking risks.
It’s about pushing yourself.
It’s about having aspirations that sometimes don’t come to fruition.
It’s about experiencing pain and disappointment, and coming out the other side more resilient.
It’s tempting to live in the safe digital world where you can never get hurt, but never achieve anything of meaning either.
I want my kids (and the rest of us) to live in the real world too. Where it’s gritty and messy and fraught with the possibility of pain.
Because with the possibility of pain comes the possibility of greatness.