What we all knew- safety is job #3

From the Department of “Duh” comes this little Kiwi gem. Seems a researcher ran an experiment on playground rules and child development. Making things too safe, having too many rules, was bad all the way around. Safe=boring and they didn’t learn about natural consequences of acting like idiots.

As a father of two kids, one girl and one barbarian, I see them do things that make me cringe, but I also know they have fun, play hard, and learn fast when you give them a fair bit of rope. Bones heal, bruises are great for showing off to friends. I’m sure I’ve watched them do things that would make the Risk Management head of any school district stroke out. But the kids are the better and healthier for it, and their mom gets a break because she can’t bear to watch.


10 thoughts on “What we all knew- safety is job #3

  1. Those in Risk Management are not concerned about the kids, or the employees, such as the case may be, per se. The “Risk” that they attempt to manage is the risk of litigation, and so we come to the point– They’re afraid of the courts, and they take it out on those in their charge.

    The ill effects of the safety Nazis’ tyranny-by-proxy (it’s always by proxy you know) may start at home or in the schoolyard, but it extends all throughout society and economics. All in the name of compassion of course. Evils has it’s way with us when it cloaks itself in virtue. We usually go along with the ruse because we are either blind or we are social cowards, or because we are blind cowards.

    • Yup. Pretty much. But I’m an optimist. I keep hoping that enough people will see the light and tell the folks in charge of “risk management” that they are the problem. If education is “JOB #1!!!” then education can’t be. Sometimes education in natural consequences is painful, but it’ll do less damage on a 2nd grade playground than with a six-pack on a 12th floor college balcony.

  2. As the father of 4, I say you have to let kids explore their limits. We live in the woods and the kids are better for it.

    • Exactly. I keep trying to explain to people that failure often isn’t a problem, it’s a learning experience. Kids getting to their limits and past them is how they learn that failure is temporary, and as long as you pick yourself up and keep on keepin’ on, nobody will care about the short-term issues. Woods – exactly.

      • You’re advocating self sufficiency of the mind (confidence, fearlessness), the prerequisite to true independence.

        You know that to some you are speaking blasphemy.

        Certainly the government/education complex wants nothing of your rabble-rousing. They would have us handcuffed by our uncertainty whether we’re doing something wrong, or breaking some rule, or being “unsafe” every minute of the day. Such people are either coward/fools or they are evil.

  3. my boy is only 6 months old but I’m darn sure gonna let him be a little boy. I can’t wait for the first day he and I bust out the torch and welder and make something. his mother is gonna have a stroke though.

    • The secret is to not let the mom be the exclusive caregiver. Like here, my wife had to just walk away while I hung out and kept an eye on them, ready to fish them out of the pond if they got into too much trouble, as they got up to their eyebrows in less-than-pool-quality mud “water.” When they are “doing geology” with rocks and a hammer, or playing “pioneer” with a mattock and stump clearing land, just don’t let the wimm’n-folk run everything. They’ll like the break, and it’ll save a lot of effort down the road.

      • No doubt. When you let women exclusively raise boys, you get men that act like women. All the goofy daredevil stuff that boys do growing up, that’s how they learn the character necessary to do the dull, dirty and dangerous work of an adult man, husband and father.

        As a coworker once put it to me, you’re not born with the ability to nut up, put away your fear and stand between that which goes bump in the night and your family with nothing but a T-shirt and a .45. That ability is learned as your grow to adulthood by doing somewhat less dangerous but still thrilling things…

  4. Negative consequences are often the best learning method – you either learn not to do that again, or you learn how to do it better.

    • And natural negative consequences are the best kind. They are impersonal. You can’t get mad at gravity for making you fall off the swing. You can’t scream No Fair! at the branch that whips back into your face when you let it go at a bad time. You cannot focus on the person correcting your idiocy, there is nothing to confront but action/consequence, and developing brains are really pretty good at analyzing that sort of thing. When people, particularly adults that say NO! far too often, are involved, learning is reduced.

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