I am repeating myself, I know, with this question. But how did ANY of us every survive childhood before everything was sanitized for us??
One of my earliest memories on a playground involved cutting my hand open on a slide.
Yes, an evil METAL slide. The kind we USED to let kids play on.
My parents didn't turn around and sue the company or the city. They told me not to use my hands to break the next time I used a slide. And I never did, believe me. I learned from that nasty cut.
That used to be called individual responsibility and accountability.
According to a recent ABC News article, many pediatric experts are claiming that the effort to "protect" kids by making playgrounds safer may actually be doing them a greater disservice.
No one wants their kids to get hurt or leave a park with bumps, scratches, or bruises. But I agree with the experts that we are going crazy overboard in the attempt to ELIMINATE all perceived dangers that were once just a staple of childhood.
The study has found that these attempts are actually creating children who are going to more anxious and afraid of danger. And that "risky play" a necessary part of growing up!! Kids NEED it in order to experience things that help them ultimately master their environments.
I blog about this because it's part of the bigger picture of how we are going wrong in America.
We overprotect our kids from injuries, even the most simple and common ones we used to all sustain during childhood.
We don't keep score in sports matches so kids feelings don't get hurt. Even though winning and losing is a lesson that MUST be learned early.
We don't let kids fail in school anymore, with some schools eliminating failing grades (F? What's an F?) and graduating all the students, whether they are honor students or flunkies.
We give every kid a gold star starting in kindergarten, whether they get 10/10 or 3/10 on a spelling test. Just so they feel GOOD about themselves.
We baste our children in anti-bacterial hand soaps every five seconds instead of letting them get dirt under their fingernails and build resistance to germs.
And we've gotten rid of merry go rounds at parks and monkey bars and metal slides. All in the insane effort to shield kids from injuries that would ultimately make them more resilient and thicker skinned.
I doubt studies like this will reverse the tide towards insanity. But it's nice to see that what I've thought all along is being backed up by people who know far more than I do.
We are doing our children a HUGE disservice through all of these examples.
And don't think just because you don't have children personally that this story doesn't affect you. Not true.
These overly protected and sanitized children will be the leaders of tomorrow. Or the very least, the guy in the check out line or the woman on the freeway or the person looking for a job or the student headed into the real world.
We will all have to deal with these people sooner or later.