Sunday, June 12, 2011

Falling off the monkey bars

Credit: Regina Fisher

Everyone has a "when I was a kid" story. You know the ones I mean, the ones intended to illustrate how ridiculously naive/spoiled the current generation of kids is, and how life was SO much better when story-teller was a kid? There's a meme going around Facebook currently that caught my attention:
When I was a kid I didn’t have a computer, internet, Nintendo DS, XBox, or Wii. I had a bike and a curfew. My toys were the outside world. If I didn’t eat what my mom made me, I didn’t eat. I didn’t dare tell my parents “no” or dare to talk back. Life wasn’t hard, it was life… And I survived. Repost if you liked the way you were raised…and drank water out of a hose.
Now, while I'm sure my parents would argue about the "talking back" comment, and I DID get a Nintendo (the original one with the cartridges that you would blow into when they stopped working!) sometime in middle school, I'd have to pretty much agree with the above statement.

I say it all the time when people nag me at work about the BPA in their water bottle/plasticware/waterfilter. I drank out of the damn hose after it'd been sitting in the sun all day, like millions of others. If THAT didn't kill me, drinking out of a waterbottle with microscopic amounts of BPA in it sure as heck won't!

And don't even get me started on the over-sanitization of everything. We actually have "Wipe-Down Wednesdays" at work, where everyone is instructed to scrub their stations clean with disinfectant MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY. Hand sanitizer is bought in bulk and placed on every desk, and people obsessively pump it into their hands all day long. Um...I'm extremely sensitive/allergic to the stuff. You can guess how much fun work is for me. Aren't we all just setting our immune systems up for failure by not knowing how to fight off bugs? Aren't we creating a younger generation of kids who are actually going to get sicker more often because they're so well-insulated from the bugs in the real world?

But I digress.

Not my photo, but couldn't find the credit.

It seems an expert in Australia has started to point out the flaws in over-protecting our youth. Because playground equipment is so overly-safe, kids don't know how to properly assess risks, and decide which ones are acceptable to take. Think about it; didn't we all play that game as kids where you try to skip monkeybars, just to see how many you can skip before you fall?  Didn't you hang upside down on the bars and try to flip around in a circle? (Or was I just the playground daredevil?)

Risk taking and overcoming (and failing!) challenges on the playground can result in some bruises and skinned knees as a kid, but they teach us how to navigate life in the big-kid's-playground of the Real World.

One wonders what this generation of kids is going to grow up to say about us. Probably something like "::aghast look:: Whaaaat? When you were a kid, they had REAL grass in the soccer field? But...but...what about the GRASSTAINS!? Didn't you always ruin your clothes? And...and ROCKS! How could you even PLAY without tripping?! How primitive. ::giggles:: I'm sure glad we've made so much progress since then!"

Progress indeed.


  1. I completely agree with you. I've seen that FB meme too, and I think it may relate more to those older then us because I too had the nintendo you talk about, and I definately talked back to my mom. Not my dad though. :) And I agree about this world being way too germ-obsessed. My husband refuses to do any of that stuff, won't even get a flu shot, and he says that everyone isn't allowing their immune system to fight and get stronger, like he is, and that he'll be the only one who'll survive when the super-bug hits, lol.
    ETA- Google won't let me sign into my account, this is Charity from Surviving a Two Year Old.

  2. @Erin - Oh, I know! I ate dirt as a kid. Not by the spoonful or anything, but come on. Sometimes the food falls on the ground and it's got some earth on it. And I distinctly remember a smores incident involving pineneedles. And yet? Didn't kill me. When the kids next door and I went out to play, I don't think my parents knew where I was; we had a rule that we didn't leave the block, but other than that? We didn't really check in too much. It's called being a KID. When I have kids, we're moving, I swear. I want them to actually get to be a kid.

    @Charity Silly Google! Sometimes it just gets an attitude, I think. I still have that Nintendo. I hooked it up the other day, just to see if it worked, and it does! I remember it being SO amazing, and the best toy ever...and now it's so outdated with the 8 bit style graphics...makes me wonder if I'm outdated, too... I'm in your husband's boat on the flu-shot. I think I've had 1 in 10 years, and I STILL got the darn flu!


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