This startling research recently received way more press attention than it deserved.
OK, here’s a news flash for researchers: when kids actively play, sometimes they get hurt. Unless we really want them to grow up in a cocoon of bubble wrap or spend their entire day sitting in front of a game console, let’s just learn to accept the odd booboo as a natural consequence of an active lifestyle.
When I was a kid we played “Stretch,” a game that involved throwing real jack knives at your opponent’s feet. We shot sealer rings at one another from “guns” we made ourselves. We raced down a row of graineries, jumping from rooftop to rooftop. We poled our way across dugouts on shaky rafts of our own construction and jumped up and down on the “soft” ice of autumn sloughs. Some – not me, of course – even had BB gun fights.
I’m not suggesting for a minute that we should return to those “good old days,” even though we all lived through them, and only a few of us ended up being monocular. I am suggesting, though, that we should lighten up a bit. By all means, let’s keep our kids safe, but let’s also provide them with countless opportunities to ACTIVELY engage the world around them. And, dare I say this out loud? Let’s even expose them to some controlled risks so that they can experience the odd thrill.
And if two kids bonk cocoanuts in a bouncy castle, how about we just accept those goose eggs as speed bumps on the road to growing up.