This is a true story.
At the church we attend, there is a room which stores stacked up chairs, foldup tables, and toy equipment such as balls, hoops and skipping ropes. There is also a small one-person trampoline. These toys typically get taken out at youth group activities. On a couple of occasions, someone has taken out the trampoline after the Sunday service and children jump on it while the adults have their coffee and fellowship time.
Last Sunday, after the service and Sunday School were over, two boys ran to the storeroom and started carrying the trampoline out into the Coffee Time area. I was at once struck by their ‘boldness’.
Some children would not have taken the initiative to get something out themselves, instead, waiting for an adult to get it out. Other children would have asked permission first. These boys wanted something and they went for it.
When an adult saw what these two boys were doing, he said, ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea to take that out today. There’s too many people about.’
Some children would have accepted it and put the trampoline back without complaining. Other children may have put it back, but grumbled while doing so. These boys explained that they were going to put it somewhere where it wouldn’t be in the way (they specified the location).
The adult had a thoughtful look on his face and he relented.
This incident was very interesting to me. While it could be argued that the boys were being disobedient, insubordinate and even disrespectful, it could also equally be argued that there is something admirable about their behavior. They had a mission, they had a plan, and they knew how to plead their case in case they came up with opposition.
Was what the boys did right or wrong?
How is this kind of ‘risk-taking’ behavior learned? Should children be taught this?