It’s important to protect children. If we don’t give them safe places to play, they might get cuts or get bruises. If we don’t give children a safe environment, they might experience failure and be sad. We should never, ever let children play with fire or touch machines. Fire is dangerous and it makes smoke, which can get in children’s eyes and make them cough. Machines are also dangerous. Moving parts can hurt fingers and, anyway, they are dirty. Exploration is also bad. What if a child gets lost and scared?
My parents, for example, were really bad. When I was a baby, my mother took me to a swimming pool. I was just a baby, but I still got water in my nose. This was a horrible experience, but my mother just said “be tough, Ben.” Later, when I was five, my parents gave me a tiny motorcycle. They didn’t even care that I would crash. I got many cuts on my legs. Sometimes, blood came out of my hands when I crashed. Crashing also made me sad. Riding motorcycles was hard and I got frustrated before I learned. It was awful.
My parents continued their irresponsibility. In elementary school they encouraged me to explore the desert by myself. Didn’t they know that dangerous wild animals live in the desert? Didn’t they know I might get scared? In middle school, they encouraged me to play sports. When I broke my finger, my father barely reacted, just saying “let’s go to the hospital.” When I was 13, they let me buy a $200 car and tune it for racing. I didn’t even have any experience! I failed so many times! Why didn’t my parents come and fix the car for me? Why did they let me struggle?
It would have been so much better if my parents had protected me. Granted, I wouldn’t have overcome my fear of water without that swimming class, but when the water went into my nose, it hurt! I wouldn’t have experienced some of my most precious memories without that motorcycle, but falling down is scary! I wouldn’t have learned to enjoy nature without those unsupervised adventures in the desert, but it was really surprising when a lizard bit my finger! I wouldn’t have learned problem-solving, independence or teamwork without that race car, but I got so dirty!
Please, be safe. Avoiding pain is much more important than actually experiencing life.
Ha! Well said 😉
Why thank you. 😀
As a survivor of a “free-range” childhood I find it a sad development in our culture that any parent who would today raise children the way I was raised would be arrested for child neglect and vilified as uncaring. Not a scientific assessment but it seems the danger to children has actually increased in proportion to the protection given them. An over simplification to be sure, but there must be a chicken-egg factor lurking somewhere within this observation.
There’s a lot of research showing that you’re correct. Raising a bunch of wimps is considered responsible, but it’s also linked to mental illness and workplace ineptitude.
When I have kids, they’re going to get scrapes and cuts and it won’t be the end of the world.