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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

Oh, isn't life sweet? Too sweet for our own good?

Updated: Oct 23, 2021


Here in New Zealand, right now, we are running around in ever-diminishing panicked circles, scared out of our wits that the "Boogey-Man" is coming to get us.

Yes, life in New Zealand has been sweet for decades; our men are no longer forcibly marched off to die in wars. Women seldom die in childbirth; we have seatbelts in our cars and machine-guards at work: you get the idea. Sweet-as Mate! But, nowadays, we are too weak and soft; we are out of touch with Mother Nature - divorced from her, actually, and we think our bodies and even our genetics are the enemies.

I think we have lost our perspective on life, death, and everything in-between, and we have no clue whatsoever about what is an acceptable level of risk during our daily lives. You could say there's too much cottonwool!

It is time for the Great Reset!

Oh, dear, did I just say that?

Let's start with a video, but you don't have to watch it all, just watch enough to get the idea then move on. I do not want to give anyone an attack of anxiety or vertigo:

I never in my life thought I'd see a man carrying a mountain goat up, well, a mountain! When you are delivering your children to school within the comfort and safety of your SUV, think of the children in this video and how they get to school. For your children, going to school is a very different experience to those children living on top of the mountain, yet for all, their experience is "normal". Let's build on this idea and consider that being too comfortable, or too safe for that matter, is not doing us any favours.

Here's the thing, as Paul Rulkens so aptly explains in the video below, we not only think within boxes and do so mostly on auto-drive but do the same with the way we live our physical lives. The trouble is, while the boxes we think and live in might appear to be of a massive volume these days, they are, paradoxically, very, very small. Although comfortable, our boxes are getting smaller with each new generation and this is not good for the future of humanity because small boxes equal a lack of or the narrowing of our resilience. We are now down to wiggle room and not much more, there is no resilience left for us to draw upon during times of crisis, such as this pandemic. Watch the video below then come back to this essay.

We learn a lot about ourselves and how great our potential could be if only we started thinking plus deliberately pushing and extending the limits of our abilities! Just how large might the size of our box be, if we challenge ourselves to move just a little outside of our comfort zones each day? What the first video demonstrates, frighteningly, is how incredibly adaptable people can be, if only they are challenged daily. What is normal depends upon what we are exposed to and what we subsequently become accustomed to.

Taking the long way to the creche
Taking the long way to the creche: is this "normal" behaviour?

Despite their young ages, we seldom drove our children to school; they walked no matter the weather or the "stranger-danger". We taught them where and how to safely cross the roads. We climbed mountains in storms. We paddled the Whanganui River several times including once during the depths of Winter. That Winter one was cold and wet! But we did it! For my children, such activities were extreme by today's standards, but for them, these activities were normal things to be doing! Looking back on those times I am reassured today that we did the right thing for them. Our children are now confident, kick-arse adults.

Paddling the Whanganui River
Paddling the Whanganui River

Here are some questions for you and your children:

  1. When was the last time you went hungry for a day?

  2. When was the last time you were cold, I mean really cold?

  3. When was the last time you had an adventure?

  4. Do you make a point of learning something new every day?

  5. Do you push some aspect of your physical limits each day?

  6. When did you last deliberately do something very different and challenging? For example, if you are a non-swimmer, why not sign up for 6 weeks of swimming lessons?

I've painted some extremes in this essay and don't, for a second think that I am asking you to do anything quite like these. However, ask yourself whether or not you are getting a little too comfortable in your box? If it is too comfortable, is your box consequently shrinking? How about your children? At what point does keeping them safe begin to start doing them a disservice? After all, every parent wants to raise strong and resilient children who are up to every challenge life is going to throw at them!

The only way to prepare a child for life is to challenge them to be a little better each and every day.

I'm off for a run later today to balance off the sedentary and artificial office work. How about you?

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