Did you do any of these things and live to tell the tale?
While I did make my children wear bicycle helmets and never took them on the highway in the back of a pick-up, many of the things on this list were not just allowed, they were encouraged. Before someone pipes up with outrage (because they’re *cough* offended) I’m not suggesting that you throw caution to the wind and let your kids attempt to hang-glide off the roof with a sheet attached to a kite frame. (I’ve got a scar proving that makeshift hang-gliding is, in fact, a terrible idea). Common sense evolves, and I obviously don’t recommend that you purposely put your children in unsafe situations with a high risk of injury.
But, let them be kids. Let them explore and take reasonable risks. Let them learn to live life without fear.
Raise your hand if you survived a childhood in the 60s, 70s, and 80s that included one or more of the following, frowned-upon activities (raise both hands if you bear a scar proving your daredevil participation in these dare-devilish events):
- Riding in the back of an open pick-up truck with a bunch of other kids
- Leaving the house after breakfast and not returning until the streetlights came on, at which point, you raced home, ASAP so you didn’t get in trouble
- Eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the school cafeteria
- Riding your bike without a helmet
- Riding your bike with a buddy on the handlebars, and neither of you wearing helmets
- Drinking water from the hose in the yard
- Swimming in creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes (or what they now call *cough* “wild swimming“)
- Climbing trees (One park cut the lower branches from a tree on the playground in case some stalwart child dared to climb them)
- Having snowball fights (and accidentally hitting someone you shouldn’t)
- Sledding without enough protective equipment to play a game in the NFL
- Carrying a pocket knife to school (or having a fishing tackle box with sharp things on school property)
- Throwing rocks at snakes in the river
- Playing politically incorrect games like Cowboys and Indians
- Playing Cops and Robbers with *gasp* toy guns
- Pretending to shoot each other with sticks we imagined were guns
- Shooting an actual gun or a bow (with *gasp* sharp arrows) at a can on a log, accompanied by our parents who gave us pointers to improve our aim. Heck, there was even a marksmanship club at my high school
- Saying the words “gun” or “bang” or “pow pow” (there’s actually a freakin’CODE about “playing with invisible guns”)
- Working for your pocket money well before your teen years
- Taking that money to the store and buying as much penny candy as you could afford, then eating it in one sitting
- Eating pop rocks candy and drinking soda, just to prove we were exempt from that urban legend that said our stomachs would explode
- Getting so dirty that your mom washed you off with the hose in the yard before letting you come into the house to have a shower
- Writing lines for being a jerk at school, either on the board or on paper
- Playing “dangerous” games like dodgeball, kickball, tag, whiffle ball, and red rover (The Health Department of New York issued a warning about the “significant risk of injury” from these games)
- Walking to school alone
Come on, be honest. Tell us what crazy stuff you did as a child.
We didn't get trophies just for showing up. We were forced, yes, forced – to do actual work and no one called protective services. And we gained something from all of this.
The Organic Prepper Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California. She is the author of The Organic Canner, The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper.
Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.
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