Tom Brady Takes A Flying Leap
Fatherhood On Friday: Vivi Brady’s big jump illustrates how “risk perception is a muscle that needs to be developed and flexed.”
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 if we pause to strip out any preconception of her (impossibly blessed alien freak) father, we really won’t have any idea of this jump’s long-term effect until Vivi is an adult, and is either running from creditors or running for Senate.
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- “I tell him how lucky he is, just as my father told me, though I always hated when he did so; I say, ‘Because I said so,’ despite the fact it used to drive me crazy when my father said it.” — Stuart Evers; Father of the House
- “I want to see more equality in the workplace for men and women. I want to see equal parental leave and I want to see more men taking on significant caring roles within their families.” — John Adams; The Lonely Business of Fatherhood
- “You know how they say that representation in popular culture matters? It’s true. Because we saw ourselves in Jessie, we didn’t feel like some ‘other’ family.” — Matt Todd; Our Family’s Indirect Connection to Cameron Boyce
- “It is a land of snoring and silence. It is a place where lullabies live and bring peace to the world. It is freedom, it is happiness, it is anything I want it to be.” — Sigourney Humus; Bedtime is a Magical Time
- “As I walked off of the field and up to our seats, there was no adulation. No basking. No good job. Nothing.” — Mike Armstrong; The Best First Pitch of All Time
‘GRAM OF THE WEEK
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Originally published at https://www.dad2summit.com on July 26, 2019.