It's All Fun & Games Until...

I was listening to a story this morning on the radio, which really made me wonder how I, my friends or even my own child ever managed to survive childhood.

The basis of the story was how many childhood accidents could be avoided if extra precaution was taken when allowing your children to play on playground equipment. I should point out that the group most at risk are boys between the ages of 11 and 14.

In order to lessen the impact if your child happens to fall, it is recommended that the ground surrounding the playground equipment be covered by either sand or wood chips. I thought to myself “Wood chips? Couldn’t you get a sliver from those things? Sand? How hygienic will that be when the neighborhood cats discover it?”

What injustice are we doing to our children?

I received this in an e-mail sometime ago and I thought it needed to be shared, particularly in light of that radio program. Remember the days when….
  • Our baby cots were covered with brightly colored lead-based paint which was promptly chewed and licked.
  • We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to play with pans.
  • When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip flops.
  • As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the passenger seat was a treat.
  • We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle - tasted the same.
  • We ate dripping sandwiches, bread and butter, cake and drank fizzy pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.
  • We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no one actually died from this.
  • We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then went top speed down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into stinging nettles at times, we learned to solve the problem.
  • We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us all day and no one minded.
  • We did not have Playstations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. No 99 channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet chat rooms. We had friends - we went outside and found them.
  • We played with rubber balls, elastics bands and rocks, and sometimes they really hurt.
  • We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits. They were accidents. We learnt not to do the same thing again.
  • We had fights, punched each other hard and got black and blue - we learned to get over it.
  • We walked to friend's homes.
  • We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate live stuff, and although we were told it would happen, we did not have many eyes get poked out, nor did the live stuff live inside us forever.
  • We rode bikes in packs of 7 and wore our coats by only the hood.
  • Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that!
Previous generations have produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned to deal with it all.

And you're one of them. Congratulations!

Maybe you'll want to pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow up as real kids, before lawyers and the government regulated our lives, for our own good.


CrazyCris said…
oh yeah, I remember all of that!

Although my childhood was as carefree as that... I lived in some risky countries and so playing in the street wasn't an option... but we had great gardens and friends coming and us going. And no one ever worried that we'd be overweight with all that running around...

what fun!
Brian Miller said…
you know, we got hurt as kids, but it didn't seem so bad and definitely did not get the press it does these days. every thing that was fun is now bad and the kids won't leave the house. i dunno, find myself wishing for the old days!

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