July 19, 2007

A Blip On The Radar Or A Swing Of The Pendulum?

You know, I'm seeing more and more of this sort of article insisting that we're mollycoddling our kids and need to step back a bit:

The best playground a child ever had. If I went on that sort of building site today, at the age of 50, I would probably have to sign a form first and wear a hard hat and a yellow jacket. In 1962, aged seven, I had the run of the place for hours on end. Yes, that's right - seven. Barely out of nappies, by today's mollycoddling standards. Was I a neglected child? Did my parents secretly wish me dead, crushed to pulp by a falling hod of bricks? Of course not. I was just a normal child enjoying a normal upbringing - or what passed for a normal upbringing then.

To my own children, raised in a more cautious age, it must seem like a foreign country - though it is a country that Ed Balls, the new Schools Secretary, is trying to rediscover. [Ed. - what a name!]

Mr Balls has been in the post only a matter of weeks, but his obvious hankering for a return to the days when schoolchildren could have conker or snowball fights, without their schools worrying that they could be sued if something went wrong, strikes the right note at the right time.

Whether his talk will amount to any action is, of course, another thing. But a risk-free childhood, as Mr Balls has rightly intuited, is not a childhood at all.

Talk and action. Exactly. However, it seems that it is at least somewhat more acceptable to talk the talk now than it was just a very few years ago, and that is at least some progress.

I have a little game that I love to play when we take the Llama-ettes to the pool: after getting them all lotioned up, I say something like, "Okay, you're all set. Now be off and have fun. Oh, and do try not to drown."

About half the parents around me typically smile or chuckle at this. The other half give me a look of nicely blended wonder, suspicion and disbelief.

We've still got a long way to go.

Posted by Robert at July 19, 2007 11:38 AM | TrackBack

Hear! Hear!

Posted by: Boy Named Sous at July 19, 2007 06:36 PM