Tom Brady Takes A Flying Leap

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Tom Brady inspires strong feelings in people, either as a super-model canoodler and the most blinged-out quarterback in NFL history, or as a “known cheater” and “diet pseudoscientist.” Given this polarized backdrop, it fits that his recent Instagram video launched the online parent-sphere into a bubble-wrapped uproar.

The clip features Brady and his 6-year-old daughter Vivi holding hands as they jumped off a rocky outcropping into a Costa Rican watering hole. Apparently, some felt that Vivi’s slight hesitation and subsequent awkward landing were too dangerous for their liking. It even made The Rock anxious.

The Internet loves its loud opinions, whether or not they’re justified. (It’s funny, for example, how many reports refer to “cliff-diving,” even though there’s no cliff, and they didn’t dive.) What’s the calculus here? Why assume Brady hadn’t done his due diligence in confirming their safety? And what happened next? It would help to know whether Vivi emerged enthralled or in tears.

The passionate reaction highlights a larger issue when we encourage our kids to take risks: How risky is too risky? Our first instinct is to protect, but “risk perception is like a muscle that needs to be developed and flexed.” And when Dad holds a child’s hand when she takes her first big leap, she’s far more equipped to calculate the risk when she leaps off on her own.

That’s a trust exercise with someone kids trust most, and the benefits of facing one’s fears generally offset any need for helicoptering. And we really won’t have any idea of this jump’s long-term effect until Vivi is an adult, and either running from creditors or running for Senate.

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Photo by jonathan romain on Unsplash