My 10-year old grandson plays a video game that has some monsters in it. However, he never sees the monsters because he knows how to avoid them.
When I visited his family recently, I watched him play his game. I commented, "The game seems rather boring. All you are doing is walking around, gathering tools and weapons, and building tall towers of bricks."
He said, "Grandma, these towers help me escape the monsters." "But," I answered, "You never see a monster."
"Right," he said. "I don't like to deal with monsters. They could kill me."
"Then why do you play that game?" I so innocently asked. He said, "Because it's fun building the towers and staying away from the monsters."
I stupidly asked, "What's the worst thing that could happen if a monster caught you?" He explained, "Well, I'd have to start all over again. Get more tools and weapons, and build more towers."
Apparently, my grandson is risk adverse. He doesn't want to take chances. He would much rather stay on a safe course. To him, roaming around and building towers is infinitely more acceptable than running into monsters.
I also noticed that he does not like to take chances during games. If we are playing Farkel, he settles for a lower score instead of throwing the dice again. Sure, if he throws a Farkel, he loses his turn, but that's the fun of the game.
Why is he risk adverse? It's part of his personality. There are lots of people like my grandson. They like to take the safe road and not take chances. They would sooner be safe than sorry.
I am not saying that caution is a bad thing. As a matter of fact, I am rather cautious myself - at least when it comes to finances and health.
My husband and I do not like to invest in risky stocks or put money into untested projects. Since we're both retired and have a limited income, we protect our assets as much as we can. I guess that means we are busy building towers to keep the monsters away.
If someone is sick with a cold or the flu, I will stay away from them until they're better. I try to disinfect the handle of my grocery shopping cart before I hold it. The cold, damp winter weather causes me to bundle up and protect my head and throat. Yes, I am risk adverse when it comes to germs.
The other day, a man came into the library while I was volunteering. He asked for a book about plants that grow in Florida. He told me that he had some kind of plant growing in his yard and wanted to know what it was.
I found him a book about Florida plants and he sat down to find his mystery plant. After a few minutes, he showed me a picture of a plant. He said, "I think that's it." Then he said, "It says that you can make tea out of the root. I think I'll try it." Then he went off on his merry tea-making way.
My first reaction was, "What's wrong with Lipton or Earl Grey?" Then I began to worry about him. What if that plant of his was poisonous and his tea did him in? Perhaps I should have warned him about that possibility.
Then, I laughed at myself. I was being risk adverse. Thinking negative thoughts is one of the earmarks of a risk-adverse person.
My grandson enjoys playing his game without the monsters. The man with the plant wants to make tea. I should just leave both of them to their own devices and stop worrying. After all, I'm not in charge, right?
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM  OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.