Last week I stumbled upon this post.
Okay, really I didn't stumble upon it. Really I read Tracy's blog every day, because...well, she's awesome. Her stories are funny and sweet and every once in awhile, make me shed a tear. Also, poke around a bit over there at Sellabitmum...how beautiful are her girls? I have bloggy love for her.
Anyway, back to the post. Go read, if you haven't already, then come back. I'll wait.
When I read things like this I get so angry. I really hate how we've gone around the bend on safety issues. I mean, car seats...I get it. Helmets, I get it. I was never in a car seat and I never wore a helmet, and somehow I'm still alive to talk about the horror of it all...but I do get it. When it comes to things like that, I'm extremely diligent with my kids. But some things are just ridiculous. Guess what people...kids? They're going to get hurt. It's part of the job description. It's part of growing up.
About a month or so ago I had a conversation with my Aunt about her state outlawing swings on public property. Hold up? Swings?!?!? Swings are OUTLAWED! What did swings ever do to anyone? Are we seriously ready to raise an entire generation that can't pump their legs? What's next? Monkey bars? Slides? Seesaws? Oh wait, I've also heard that seesaws aren't allowed on many playgrounds. And come to think of it, I haven't seen too many monkey bars lately.
It makes me sad. Yet...
When we first moved into our new house we found a tick on Ainsley. It was not embedded. It wasn't engorged. But I FREAKED. I lost it. How could I have let this happen? How had I not noticed? I felt like a terrible mother. This disease carrying insect was on my child...where had I gone wrong?
I made a decision to stay out of the woods with the kids. Check them constantly for ticks.
So, how am I any better than the state outlawing swings or the stranger scolding a mother for allowing her kids to climb trees?
As parents we want to do whatever it takes to protect our kids...
My kid slipped off the Monkey Bars...remove them all!
My kid fell out of a tree...cut them all down!
My kid was bit by a dog...stay away from all dogs!
My kid had a tick on her...don't go near the woods!
We want to tear down the mountains and build the bridges to make their lives easy and worry-free. But that's not really life is it?
Kids are going to get hurt. They're going to fall down hills, crash their bikes, get stung by bees. We can't protect them from it all. I'm not a bad mom because my kid had a tick on her.
And if we protect them from all these "dangers" are we really protecting them or are we just setting them up to fail? To expect a life with no road blocks or obstacles?
Shouldn't we instead teach them that some things are worth the risk? That some actions come with consequences. Yes, you could fall off the swing and break a leg...but isn't the wind in your face and the feeling of flying worth that small risk? Yes, you could find a tick in your hair, but isn't the beauty of the forest worth that possibility?
I think it is.