In the last year or so I have penned a number of blogs about the way parents wrap their children in cotton wool and create a cocoon of safety around them on the grounds of “keeping them safe.” They are not allowed to play in the open air as they may get some dirt on themselves and be exposed to germs or contract some mythical life threatening disease.
The attitude of schools is compounding this problem by banning such games as football in the playground, conkers, throwing snowballs or just running around if the playground is wet. We are creating a generation of unfit, overindulged and self – centred individuals who, by the time they reach adulthood are often incapable of doing even the simplest thing for themselves (talk to any Student Support Officer in a British University and you will find out what I mean).
Earlier this week I was on a short holiday break in the Lake District and had part of my faith restored in humanity and the well being of the coming generation.
First of all in Keswick I came across a climbing wall in the market place where young children were being given an opportunity to test themselves out by climbing the wall. These were young kids with obviously encouraging and supportive parents and it was wonderful to see the kids launching themselves upwards to reach the top of the climbing tower.
Secondly, I was at the Rheged Centre near Penrith with my grandson and they had an excellent adventure playground consisting of slide shuts, climbing walls and numerous other challenging activities. I saw a couple of young kids going up the climbing wall without any support and they seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. My grandson (aged two and a half) even had a go, with a little supervision from his mum.
There were hundreds of kids aged from about 2 to 13 rushing around to try out all the activities and not an “elf n’ safety” spoilsport in sight. There was laughter, shrieks of enjoyment, screams and the occasional sob as someone hurt themselves a little……..but very quickly recovered upon promise of an ice cream on a very hot day.
Yes, we have to be health and safety conscious, but we also have to let kids “loose” to test themselves out, develop their own risk assessment skills and occasionally make a mistake, but then isn’t that how life works and how we learn.
So well done to all the kids for trying out all the different activities and also to the parents for “letting them off the lead.”
Photographs (c) Kindadukish