Taking Responsible Risks

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When Noah started building his boat, because God asked him to, the people around him would have thought he was crazy. Yet he faithfully continued on. When his vessel was complete and he loaded it up with animals, because God asked him to, people would have questioned his actions. When Noah’s family boarded the ark as the rain started, because God asked him to, people most likely would have scoffed at what he was doing. But with each and every command, Noah faithfully obeyed God as Genesis 6-9 recounts.

We know the end of the story. We know that Noah was right to obey God as it all ended happily with a rainbow  (for that time at least). The question is would we, if faced with taking a similar risk, step out in faith to follow God’s guidance?

Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick created the theory of the 16 Habits of Mind, one of which is ‘Taking Responsible Risks.’ These Habits of Mind can be applied to the way children (and adults) learn and they are a wonderful tool for planning in the classroom. When reflecting upon the apparent ‘risks’ Noah took, from the eyes of the outsiders, I really even wonder if his family trusted in what he was doing. To spend all that time and all those resources, with no sign of rain or flooding to come, was really taking a huge risk. I believe however that to Noah, it was a ‘responsible’ one. Why? Because the responsibility lay with God. God ordained it, God gave the commands, and Noah just followed His guidance, step by step.

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When Peter, stepped out to walk on the water with Jesus in Matthew 14:22-36, the risk seemed enormous. The disciples already were in shock that they had even witnessed Jesus himself walking on the waters, let alone one of their own attempting it. Peter took that leap of faith, and for a moment, the risk was worth it. He had his eyes fixed on his Lord and he was indeed following in his footsteps. Yet all of a sudden he focussed on the risk. He became afraid and then doubted as verse 30 states. If Peter had continued to focus his eyes on Jesus, he would have been safe. He would have succeeded in taking that responsible risk and it would have paid off.

The Bible is full of accounts of those who took great risks because of God’s prompting…  Moses, Abraham, Rahab.. the list goes on. Hebrews 11 is a good summary of these accounts.

We want to equip our students to take responsible risks when the time is right. In their learning, some students face this every day, especially those who have a paralysing fear of failure. As a teacher in a Christian school, I want my students to know they can step out on the waters in faith, if they keep their eyes fixed on Jesus and His Word. I want them to realise that the opportunity to take responsible risks will be there for the rest of their lives, through school, work, study, life choices, family and more. Whilst there can be fear involved when taking a risk, we are reminded that if we are following God’s will, we need not fear. Jesus said to Peter “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27).

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The risk can be a responsible one if it is taken with full faith of Christ. Yes, the dangers are still there. We may be in the midst of an ongoing storm, but if Jesus calls us out onto the waters, we need not fear, because He promises never to leave us.