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Friday, July 22, 2011

Is Risk a Bad Thing?

In reading the New York Times article: Can a Playground Be Too Safe?

I had a flashback while reading the following excerpt:

"...After observing children on playgrounds in Norway, England and Australia, Dr. Sandseter identified six categories of risky play: exploring heights, experiencing high speed, handling dangerous tools, being near dangerous elements (like water or fire), rough-and-tumble play (like wrestling), and wandering alone away from adult supervision. The most common is climbing heights..."

It's one of my earliest memories of "school". It must have been the early 50’s and the neighborhood school had a typical playground with the tall, all metal slides, steel igloo domed jungle gyms and those old style merry-go-rounds where the object was to spin it fast enough to fling everyone off.

We got bumps, bruises and even a few bleeding, scraped knees and elbows. No big deal. It was part of the “learning” process.

Anyway, my flashback memory phrase trigger in the above article was “handling dangerous tools”.

I’m not sure the girls in Kindergarten were encouraged to use tools (remember this was the 50’s) but the boys got to use real hammers, nails and saws to make stuff.

I remember that I wanted to make a boat by sawing the corners off 3 or 4 planks of wood and nailing the shorter planks on top of larger ones to make a boat with decks.

In the process, I acquired a pretty good cut on the arm when the saw blade slipped. I got sent to the school nurse, had it bandaged, and sent back to class to finish my boat. My finished project looked more like an off kilter pyramid.

I couldn’t wait to show it to mom and dad. It didn’t matter that the boat didn’t float upright when I tried to float it in a tub of water. I was proud that I had made it myself.

I don’t remember my parents making any big fuss over the injury except to check it and put a new bandage it before I went back to school the next day.

...Things sure have changed quite a bit since the good old days.


The Bus Driver said...

I love this post. Its true. Kids today practically go to school with helmets and safety pads. When I was growing up, 80-90's we would get hurt, fall down, any number of things, and our parents would never even consider suing the school, the board of education, the nurse, or anyone else for "neglegence" there is just too much leeway now with court threats that it makes it impossible to just be a kid. We cant even let children off the bus to walk home in the rain. Parents have a hissy fit if their kid gets wet or if they are inconvinienced because of the rain.

We now live in a society of "right now"... they want everything right here right now, and noone wants to wait, or use common sense.

Anonymous said...

Super Sub has left a new comment on your post "Is Risk a Bad Thing?":

It's no wonder children today think they are invincible. They never get hurt. They are padded and belted or just plain kept away from anything that could ever hurt them. If they get a tiny scrape they think they are going to die.

When I was a kid if you fell and got hurt you got over it. If you went crying to mom she might make you stay inside instead of out playing with your friends.