How to Encourage Risk and Why it’s Important

To experience the most from this blog, I encourage you to read last week’s blog from my public speaking/professional development site, It will give you a much more profound perspective on this blog. 

While we tend to define risk as a physical act of bravery, this is only one of a plethora of ways that we can and should think of risk. When a child “interrupts” us, it is quite often because they:

  • Are excited about an idea they have.

  • Want to share their input related to what you are saying.

  • Want to share their input unrelated to what you are saying, but related to their idea.

These are all examples of a child willingly taking risk. However, from the typical adult perspective, these are all moments where the child is unfocused, unaware, and unwilling to listen. Quite often, that is not the case. What is usually the case is:

The child has not yet learned how the flow of a conversation takes place (I would ask you to consider how many adults haven’t learned this yet).

When a child “interrupts”, this is a golden moment where we can either encourage the:

Risk of sharing an original idea or model the idea that you don’t risk sharing your ideas in public.

The first time I realized how empowering or damaging this moment could be, I was blown away! This is not to say that we should let anyone take over a discussion. Of course, we can empower a young learner AND teach them that we take turns when having a discussion. Of critical importance is the very FIRST thing we say when they “interrupt.” Here is what has worked wonders for me and the young minds I guide:

  • “I am so interested in hearing your idea! Let’s first let Marie finish what she was saying and then we’ll hear what you have to say!”

  • “I love that you want to share your idea! Let’s give Juan a chance to finish and then we’ll hear what you want to share.”

  • “I love to hear what you’re thinking! Let me finish what I was sharing and then you get to share!”

I write today’s blog to highlight that the way we think is one of the most important forms of risk. New ideas are the backbone of humanity being able to evolve into a more enlightened and compassionate way of being. We should consider how we can encourage risk,  in how we think with our students, children, and ourselves.

Risk with your ideas and take flight,