I recently caught the end of a news article about a mom (in a big city) who left her 9 year old child on the other side of town after a shopping trip, and the kid found his way home by using subways and walking.
Now most people reading that probably think … What kind of mother is she?
Then answer is … the fun kind.
Because the kid ASKED if he could do it, and she agreed.
Now there were lots of parents out there who told her she was crazy and should have her kids taken from her, but think about it this way.
What if your kid ever does get lost, for whatever reason? Do they know how to find their way home? Do they have a little money on them to use for buses or subways, or a cellphone they can use to call someone?
These things do happen, and when they do, it is good to be prepared.
THAT is what this mother was thinking when she accepted this request from her son.
This forms a larger issue in today’s society of “protection” of children.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t keep our kids safe, I’m saying maybe (just maybe) we’ve gone a little too far in doing so.
Another part of the same article talked about how playgrounds are becoming more and more “safe”, with things to play on where there is very little risk of harm to kids.
I remember the old monkey bars and fireman’s pole and huge steel climbing structures where there was any number of places a kids could hurt themselves … and you know what WE DID!
AND we’re still alive today to talk about it.
The problem with making things “too safe” is that when these kids become young adults and get out into the real world, all of a sudden they are faced with a “dangerous” no-training-wheels life … and will they know what to do, or will they keep playing it safe and not get anywhere in their lives, afraid of a little bruise to their ego or scrape on their confidence.
The whole point of “PLAY” is to learn and grow and sometimes that means we play with sharp things and hurt ourselves or play on high things and fall and break a leg. This teaches us two things: one we can survive a little damage, and two, we can get back up again after we “fall” (or fail) and continue on.
So I say PLAY!
Scrape your knees, and elbows, and get a little dirty! The playground of LIFE is much less forgiving, so you might as well be as prepared as you can be.
And keep laughing.