For the last two weeks, my life has been pretty child centered, and will continue to be for the rest of the summer. I need to hang out with people my own age, please. But until then...Here's something I've been thinking about--
If I ever have children, they are going to climb trees and jump off of high places and each bugs and things off the ground, and roll in mud, and touch lots and lots of unsanitary things.
A few months ago there was a story on the news about how it’s not safe to build sand castles because of the possibility of getting E-coli. Sand castles! I don’t want to live in a world where it’s unsafe to build sand castles, so I’m choose to disregard that warning entirely.
At work I have to yell at kids constantly to not climb over fences or do flips off swings, because if some kid gets seriously injured, the club is at risk of being sued.
While I don’t like to see a kid get hurt, or sick from building a sand castle, I would be willing to expose my children to some of the basic parts of being a child, no matter how dangerous society dubs such actions. Breaking a few bones are part of growing up. By cushioning the blow of childhood with rules and safety precautions, kids are missing out of being a kid, and instead are growing up in sterile environment to be wimpy little twerps that are afraid of boogers and aren’t immune to anything. Kids need germs so they don’t get sick from other things later…none of this Lysol crap or Purell (which really only worsens the problem it’s trying to eliminate by encouraging antiseptic/antibiotic resistant strands of bacteria, but that’s a whole new issue.) And there’s a reason a kids bones are made of cartilage and heal super fast as a result. Putting a kid in a bubble is not the way to keep them safe.
Our society seems to be all about prevention. Which is good in some respects. Except when the “measures of prevention” start to become problematic themselves. By killing all the germs out there, restricting kids on the playground you might be reducing lawsuits and temporarily keeping everyone healthy, but I feel like the farm yard approach is a lot better. Let kids eat dirt and fall down…you can address the problems as them come, not before. In my opinion, it works a lot better in the long run to put a band-aid on a knee after it’s scraped than it is to put a fence around the tree so you can’t climb up it.