The Problem With Reducing Risk.

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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I'm a cautious person. I will set boundaries and make up rules even when none exist and there's no need for any. I do so because I have this ingrained belief, at times, that something could, or is going to, go wrong. As a husband and a father I tend to use my energy to reduce as much risk as possible. However, this can create huge problems!

I was struck by a paragraph I read, the other day, in the book Wild At Heart by John Eldredge. He says this:

Most men spend the energy of their lives trying to eliminate risk, or squeezing it down to a more manageable size. Their children hear “no” far more than they hear “yes”, their employees feel chained up and their wives are equally bound. If it works, if a man succeeds in securing his life against all risk, he’ll wind up in a cocoon of self-protection and wonder all the while why he’s suffocating.

I had to re-read this several times and allow it to sink in. Immediately, I found myself examining my own life. I replayed recent interactions I’ve had with my children when their adventurous spirits were getting “a little too out of control,” and I asked them to stop before something broke. I mentally went back to a few moments when my wife wanted to maximize the free time we had but I was too busy worrying about work issues or whether the checking account was balanced.

Instead of fully engaging in the life of my family, over the years, I’ve spent so much time worrying about safety and security. Will we have enough money? Will everyone stay healthy and safe? Will we survive the dark days of life?

I’ve turned down my daughter’s request to dance in public more times than I can count. When my son wanted to use a pile of scrap wood in the backyard to build a tree-fort last summer, I said no because, “there’s just no way we could accomplish that using that type of wood.” “We need a plan,” I argued, “we need the right type of wood, we need time. We don’t have any of that!” You should’ve seen the look on his face. It haunts me to think about it.

We are always in search of a plan aren’t we? We are always claiming that “there’s not enough time.” We tend to say no to our children or our spouses way more than we say yes. I know I do.

So my question is- why? Why do we do this? Why are we so afraid of risk? Why are so fearful of living life to the fullest? What’s stopping us? What’s stopping you? What’s stopping me?

There are times when I look at my life and wonder what happened. What happened to that 22 year old college kid who would’ve dropped everything and taken a road trip to Wyoming just to say he did it? What happened to that 12-year old boy who used to romp and roam, barefoot, and care-free on hundreds of acres of land? What happened to that man who threw caution to the wind, danced in the rain, sang at the top of his lungs in public, or bounced off the walls because his favorite band was coming to town?

Do you ever wonder about your life like this?

Please understand, I’m not saying that I want to return to age 22, or become a 12-year old kid again. And I’m not advocating carelessness or irresponsibility. I’m challenging lost adventure. I’m taking a moment to check my own life, and evaluate what’s most important against how I’m actually living. I want to live every moment of life to the very fullest that I can.

Truth is, I love my life. I love it a lot! I feel so incredibly blessed to have the family I have, the wife I love, and the friends I cherish. I bet many of you feel the same way. If that’s the case, isn’t it time we start taking advantage of the moments we’ve been given? Isn’t it time we throw caution to the wind, stop worrying about all we have to get done or whether there’s enough money, and invest fully into the lives of our spouses, our children, and our friends?

Isn’t it time we stop reducing risk and just go for it? Isn’t it time we live?

Have you found yourself worrying to much about trivial things? Have you told your children no more than you’ve told them yes?

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.