Kids Need to Experience Life

I have four kids, which means I have four distinct little personalities that are growing in my home. Each is unique in the way they approach life, especially trying out new things. My oldest boy is disabled, so he is, of course, different than the norm, but the others fall into more typically known categories.

The second boy is all boy. He is aggressive, loud, physical and charges into things head-on, resulting in many bumps and bruises along the way. I consider this part of life and figure I just need to be ready for whatever may happen. I just cross my fingers and hope we avoid any major breaks or cuts. This is how kids learn their capabilities, where they end, and why boundaries can be important. This is hard for some parents to realize, and some never learn, preferring to isolate their kids from ever experiencing consequences.
Last year he was drawn into the Heely craze big time. He wanted them more than anything and really could not think of much else. Fortunately for him, Christmas came around, and a pair of Heely’s were under the tree. He has loved those things, and from our perspective, the scrapes and bruises he has gained while learning to use them are par for the course.

I came across an AP article today published our local rag talking about the safety concerns related to Heelys. Some doctors are advising that Heely’s are more dangerous than you might at first think, and several stats are quoted of Heely related injuries. Even one death occurred.

The part that sparked this rant though was the mother quoted that threw her kid’s Heelys after the kid got hurt on them. Oh my, are these things really dangerous? I better not let my kid use them. She also mentions previously throwing out the trampoline after reading about all the related safety hazards. Gee, you think bouncing high in the air in a small defined space with the hard ground around that space would be dangerous? You might have predicted that problem prior to making the initial purchase with perhaps even a little forethought.
Give me a break! Kids can get hurt walking down the street! Their growing bodies cause all kinds of coordination problems that make the old cliche of walking chewing gum at the same time a real difficulty. If I took away every possible recreational activity that my kids could possibly harm themselves doing, they would do nothing at all. But then, doing nothing would make them fat and lazy, so I guess they will get hurt if I do that too. I can’t win!

Think back to all the things we did as kids, some we got hurt doing, others we managed to avoid injury by the skin of our teeth. What you remember most though was…it was fun! We may not all be daredevils, but as kids, we all need some amount of physical activity every day as part of our physical growth and development. Everything physical we do carries a level of risk. Remember the old skates we had that you could strap on to your shoes? Now those were safe… Those old metal wheels would launch you through the air with even the smallest pebble or crack in the sidewalk.

Even baseball is one of the highest injury-related sports, but we’re not giving that up! Kids gotta live life to enjoy it, and they gotta live life to get good at it. Protect your kids from the really dangerous stuff, and do your best to advise them on the rest. They’ll listen sometimes, and other times it will take experiencing the consequences to learn to listen in the future. That’s life. Those are some powerful lessons to learn as a kid so you can be a somewhat intelligent adult. Look around and tell me you can’t identify the adults that didn’t learn their life lessons as kids. If you can’t, you may just be one of them!