I have had many a conversation with my peers about the safety measures parents seem to take in this 21st century. I have watched a beautiful wood play structure that I enjoyed for my entire childhood disappear in favour of a much shorter plastic one. Though I was never hurt when using that structure – and never heard any stories of my friends and classmates being hurt, it was decided by that generation younger than my parents but older than my friends that the potential for splinters and scratches was too much for their children.
For years parents have protected their children from any kind of bacteria that could harm them – and allergy levels have risen and germs are starting to mutate and these people are growing up with weak immune systems, petrified of dirt and what it might do to them.
This morning I was doing my usual scan of the newspapers and I finished with the Globe and Mail’s Facts and Arguments, which consists of a personal essay and a small collection of interesting facts and stories in the news. Today there was a note about the ever-increasing number of British children who are starting school not knowing which hand is their dominant one. Apparently parents are so worried about letting their kids crawl or lie on their stomach, that these children don’t develop right-left coordination with their arms and legs. The psychologist source also blames television and video games saying that children aren’t using their hands enough to grasp concepts like weight and volume.
I can’t imagine being that old – I would think at least 4 or 5 – and not know that I’m right handed. I can’t imagine not be allowed to crawl and explore and I certainly can’t imagine not using my hands to play. Grabbing at things around you and feeling them in your hands should be an integral part of childhood – just like scraping your knees and getting dirty.