Before I get into the post, I gotta tell you all that you’re gonna give me a big head with all of your compliments! All I can say is that I’m not worthy of all of you. I see other people and their blog rolls and I know that my blog readers can beat THEIR blog readers in a fight, and that makes me proud to know you all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
When I was a grade-schooler, the playground for my school (well, one of the playgrounds) had this gigantic wooden bridge leading to the metal equipment. I can’t remember what we called it exactly, but it was a deliberately wobbly bridge, flanked on either side by rusty (probably lead) chains that made the pattern of squares. I suppose the squares were there to hold kids back from falling down below, probably a 5 or 6 foot drop.
A forbidden game for us was “Bridge Tag” and as such, at every possible opportunity whenever the playground supervisor had her back turned, we played it. The rules were simple: two teams, one on either entrance to the bridge, and a fraction of those on either team would gravitate towards the middle. The object of the game was to get from one side of the bridge to the other.
One day when we were furtively playing this game, on my way across the wobbly bridge, I got seriously denied by another kid and ended up falling between the rusty chains onto the ground below. Square on my head.
This knocked the wind out of me, which frightened me enough to go and seek the playground monitor so that I could go to the nurse. When I found her, glowering and smoking a cigarette in front of the school, yelling insults to the kids in her physical proximity, I told her in deep hiccupy sentence fragments what had happened. Instead of whisking me off to the nurse, she put me in the penalty box for playing Forbidden Bridge Tag, and I stood there, still trying to catch my breath while my head throbbed uncomfortably.
Obviously, save for a few missing brain cells (probably the one’s responsible for spelling words properly and knowing when NOT to use a comma) I was fine. I’m here today, have no neurological issues (shut UP!) and had forgotten about it until I was talking to my friend KC last night.
But can you IMAGINE what would happen if this happened today, 20 years later?
That monitor would have been fired well before she didn’t send me to the nurse and instead punished me for my misdeeds, if not for the smoking in front of kids (oh the HUMANITY!) but for the fact that she routinely insulted us about nothing. She was not, as the French say, a Kid-Lover.
The school would have been sued for having such a dangerous playground, and the principal would probably have been sent to prison for…something.
I mean, I’m all for keeping my kids safe, really I am, but I tend to think that this whole safety thing has just gone too far. There’s a point somewhere where you really need to allow your kids to be kids and not be mini-adults.
I recently had to sign a waiver allowing my big son to attend a school birthday party at which some dude brought in a number of reptiles. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the kid to get salmonella or something, but I am pretty sure that this is the awesomest idea for a birthday party ever (hint, hint, The Daver) and that I trust that my son will wash his hands after handling it.
When I scoffed at The Daver’s insistence that Ben get a helmet for riding his bike, I was promptly rebuked by him for ignoring obvious safety issues. While I have any number of scars on my body from falling off bikes and such, I am pretty fond of them overall. They each tell a story. And Ben’s head? On his peewee bike? Not very far from the ground. I’ve watched as both of my macrocephalic children use their heads as battering rams and frankly, I’m not too worried about Ben on a bike. Especially since he’s going 3 feet/hour.
Not exactly a cyclist, right?
I don’t know, but I think I’m in the minority here: day to day, I’m not overly concerned for my son’s safety. He’s bright enough to look both ways before he crosses the street, he knows not to go anywhere with strangers, and if he breaks his arm falling off a trampoline?
That’ll make a kick-ass story for him to tell later in life.