Responsible Risk Taking

Responsible Decision-Making

Family Resources on Responsible Risk Taking

Lesson Topic

Safety and safety planning

Essential Question

How can I make safe choices in activities I participate in?

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Responsible Risk Taking – Chuck

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students explored the issues of risk taking, but doing so responsibly. In class students discussed taking risks, but how risk-taking must be intertwined with responsibility and safety. In groups students brainstormed ways to participate in various risky activities while maintaining safety.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

The video for this module features a youth named Chuck who enjoys various risky activities, including skydiving. Even though Chuck does things that are dangerous, he makes sure to be responsible and safe.

Conversation notes:
Being willing to take risks is normal for adolescents (not that everyone should take up skydiving), the problem is that when many adolescents take risks, they do not consider all the consequences. In Chuck’s case there are safety procedures that minimize the risk of skydiving (although there is still some risk involved). The key to the conversation is not to take risks, but to teach how to take risks with responsibility.

For more on risk as a developmental need check out this article by Nevin Harper at Growing Edge:

How risk-taking encourages learning from NPR:

How to encourage safe risk-taking article (focused on boys, but helpful for girls too) from Generation Next:

Constructive Conversation Starters

The first item is for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class activities.

What safety precautions did Chuck discuss when he was talking about skydiving? How did these precautions help Chuck? Why do you think Chuck talked about both safety and not just how much fun he has skydiving?

What are some risks that teenagers often take? Do you think most teenagers think about safety when they engage in the activities you mentioned? Explain why you think as you do and describe if there is a way to participate in these activities responsibly (if it is possible to do so).

Think about people your age you know (not necessarily close friends). What are some of the risky activities that these people do? Do you think that the people you are thinking of are responsible when they participate in the risky activities you describe? Why or why not?

Why do people like to take risks? Describe using examples.

How can you make sure that when you do something that is fun that you are doing it in a responsible manner? Describe why you think as you do.

School to Home Resources on Responsible Risk Taking

Lesson Plan

Being careful takes planning

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Chuck says, “a lot of people don’t understand how much effort is involved to be careful, to be safe because we’re not just going out there and strapping something to our backs and jumping”. Why does Chuck mention the importance of being careful and safe? Do you do a good job of thinking about safety in everyday activities? Why do you say so?

Being nervous can be good

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Chuck says, “the plane ride up is the only time I’m ever really nervous, and some of my instructors have told me that they won’t fly with anyone who’s not nervous”. Why does Chuck believe that it is good to be nervous about skydiving? How do you think he overcomes his nervousness? How do you overcome your fear about doing something that makes you nervous?

Learn about safety for any activity

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Chuck says, “for me that’s very important to be knowledgeable about something, especially something that’s dangerous because I don’t like to not be in control”. How did Chuck become knowledgeable about skydiving? Why do you think Chuck believes it is important to learn about something before attempting it?

Safety planning is important

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Chuck described a time when something went wrong with his parachute, “I remember feeling scared…but at the same time my body was working and another part of my brain was working doing the safety measures that I had been taught to do, I cut away my main parachute and deployed my reserve. I landed safely”. Why do you think his mind and body were able to solve the problem while he was scared? How do people typically react when they are scared about something?

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