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The Fatherly Podcast Episode 25: Parenting Is the Art of Poorly Calculating Risk

Life without danger is a drag, but where should parents draw the line? The world's most accomplished base jumper has (shockingly well-considered) thoughts.

Life is pretty damn dull if you take out the risk, but parents can’t be blamed for wanting to mitigate the danger of growing up or enjoying the death-defying activities that many young people gravitate towards. Eager to get a handle on whether his risk-aversion is practical or pathological, Fatherly Podcast host Joshua David Stein drags co-host Jason Gay along for a journey into the world of risk by reaching out to the guru of alpine gambles, Matthias “Super Frenchie” Giraud.

Giraud is not a household name in America, but it’s likely you’ve seen one of his hyper-viral YouTube videos. Arguably the world’s pre-eminent base jumper and one of the most respected extreme skiers on the planet, Giraud makes his living skiing down and jumping off cliffs — among other things. When he’s at home with his son, Giraud is honest about the pull gravity exerts on him and the very real peril adrenaline addiction poses for his family and to his son, a 5-year-old competitive vert skater. Giraud makes the case for mindfully embracing risk and speaking to children about how to protect themselves by paying attention.

Looking for a more down-to-earth response, Stein and Gay then speak to to David Sheff, author of Beautiful Boy, about his son’s descent into drug addiction and the sorts of existential risks that even suburban kids end up facing these days. Sheff shares a story that might convince parents to keep their children homes, but offers an unexpected takeaway.