By M. ( age 9)
Here is a list of things I want in a park.
- Round abouts
- Real teeter-toters
- huge slides
- better climbers
- higher swinging swings
- big trees to climb up
- tall grass to hide in
- a sprinkler that goes on in the summer when you press the button etc..
The wOnder of rOlling
A little later the 3 sisters are playing a game. It’s a game of challenge they have just invented with different levels. E is directing.
Level 1 - slide down hill on only your bum as fast as you can.
Level 2 - go down hill on crazy carpet even faster.
level 3 - go down hill on toboggan full speed ahead .
At all levels, you must avoid the obstacle by throwing yourself bodily off the path as you get closer to it- 'it’ being E herself.Many times M smashes into E’s legs. They dare each other; frankly it’s not safe and I have to bite my tongue, when M get’s ready to slide down the hill standing up on the toboggan. She tries it and decides it’s not safe this time- and I feel proud of myself that I hadn’t intervened.
Who are we to deprive them of these necessary ingredients to growing up? In most cultures around the world, children are encouraged and supported in their attempts at self sufficiency, skill bravery both through play and work- often included in the work adults are doing- right in the thick of it- and working at their own levels. I wonder as many do (listen to my interview with Matt Hern on the topic and his views) what harm we do when we in our anxiety to protect them, prevent them from opening up this facet to independence. When I don’t allow my daughter walk to her swimming lessons alone (just a couple blocks away) am I protecting her or am I actually hurting her by transmitting my fearfulness over to her?
It’s like the fairy tales tell- the hunt for the golden egg, the magic element that is really the sense of empowerment; the enlarged sense of self; the potential actualized at last! All the old myths and legends talk about children in adventures in challenging situations; the Quest- and aren’t they our favourites? And don’t we imagine ourselves in that role, glorious victor returned with the spoils?
Isn’t this the history off humankind?
So I think for starters, we need to think about providing safe environments-pollution free, pesticide free, car free, drug free. I think for my part, I’d feel a lot more relaxed.
A kid climbs up a tree, falls out and dies- horrible, horrible but is it right to ban tree climbing for all kids because a few people get hurt or killed? asks Hern. Further more, he says, the idea of ‘safe’ has now become part of the discourse, ethically socially and politically, that underlines how we think about most every context- every time you turn around there it is- Lots to think about in this interview. Listen to it!