These days, it feels as if "good" parents must be hovering over our kids, practically with virtual bubble wrap, to prevent any mishaps from, well, happening! A trip to any playground and you will hear about a hundred different admonishing reminders-oh no, we don't climb UP the slide!
Oh! Don't jump off that bar! It's too high! You'll get hurt!
Don't sit up that high! You might fall!
Don't swing too high! You might fall out!
No bark does not go in your mouth!!
Uhoh! sticks are not toys! Put it down before you jab his eye!
Don't take her toy! That's not nice! We need to share the playground.
It's kind of enough to give me a headache. I can't tell you how many times I say something so I don't appear to care too little and am making sure to be a good involved parent. Because, that's what good parents are supposed to do, right?!
Now that I think about it, I almost wonder why I put myself through the torture of going to the park where SO many reminders are needed to keep our sweet kiddos safe. I have to wonder though- are we really keeping them safe? I mean, we are sure as heck trying to prevent injuries! But, I wonder if we are cultivating a real learning environment or just teaching them to avoid too much risk because they "might get hurt" in the process. It's not that I want my kids to be injured, but it feels as if they can't just got out there and play and learn and explore for themselves without some well-meaning parent casting a glare for my caring too little.
Check out these pictures.
A dump? Nope. That, my friends, is a playground. It is called "The Land" and was designed as a place for kids to play and learn. It is staffed by eight full time people who work there to help the kids get the most out of playtime. In other words, encouraging them to do the things we discourage our own kids from doing. Whoa. It's in East Wales. I think it's a brilliant idea. You can read more on it here.
Part of me is honestly torn- I want our kids to be safe and don't want to encourage them to hurt themselves or others. I wonder though- are we maybe encouraging too much "safe" play and too little exploration and learning?
I love this quote from Mr. Rogers. Good reminder.
What do you think?