Beware Dangerism! (Kindle Single) (TED Books) Kindle Edition
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I don't think you can get a group of people over a certain age, let's say 35, and ask them to discuss childhood play without someone beginning a discussion that goes something like, "when I was a kid, I'd go out to play in the morning and my parents didn't see me all day. I was climbing trees and getting into mischief, and doing crazy stuff on monkey bars -- and it's a wonder I made it through." Most everybody will nod along, relating to it, and most everyone will be smiling and looking for an opportunity to tell about the crazy stuff they did. These are the same people who are now making sure their own kids are never out of sight of an adult. It's an interesting dichotomy, because what these people are feeling is that same thrill and adrenaline rush of being a child and exploring, but it's the last thing they want for their own kids, because they are really afraid.
No one is suggesting that the out-of-sight of parents thing is ideal either -- well, at least one person in the piece says it, but I'm not saying it -- but so many lessons are lost when we go the other way. I saw an interesting interview somewhere -- Gavin de Becker maybe -- and it's touched upon in this piece, about how telling kids not to talk to strangers is rather bad advice. Talking to strangers under somewhat controlled situations at first is what teaches kids to assess danger, to evaluate people, to know how to navigate through a world of people, and empowers them to ask for help if it ever comes to that. If you raise your kid like a veal, development is arrested and self-sufficiency is thwarted. If you expose your child to reasonable dangers, like walking to school alone, someone might call the cops.
The world is not as dangerous as the news would have us believe, but we all remain afraid for reasons this piece covers (and sources are cited in the footnotes.) We are taught, falsely, that our children are in grave danger, are sold the false concept that if you baby proof enough and are diligent enough, that kids can be made completely safe, and this leads to guilt and blame when that rare accident happens. (Good parents know that there are scary people on every corner and never let their kids out of their sight, so the lady on the news who lost her kid at the mall is a BAD MOTHER, doesn't allow for fate or genuine accidents, or there but for the grace of God...)
I could truly go on ... and on ... until the review is longer than the piece. Suffice it to say, there's a fair amount I didn't cover.
Whether or not you think the author is right, this is just so thought-provoking, I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in the topics covered. As mentioned, the studies and themes are also well-attributed for additional reading or explorations.
This really delighted my brain. 5 stars.
(I noticed that this title is also able to be lent at this time, for all I know that's subject to change so check before taking my word. So, if you buy you can pass along to a friend with a Kindle or Kindle app.)
The author notes that he has been criticized for a lack of caring about safety for children. I do not get this sense at all. He doesn't advocate throwing out car seats for example. I do think he makes some fine points about thoughtful risk assessments and the training of children in the same. This is a thoughtful piece and worth reading whether you end up agreeing or not,
I really appreciated Gever Tulley detailing where our society went off the rails when it comes to keeping our kids safe. Yes, we all have to be careful and not saftey-stupid, but I found his pointing out that letting kids face risk actually *develops* their ability to gauge risk.
As an aside, this single reminded me of Gavin De Becker's *Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)*. Another good read for parents.
(And Amazon.com, I really like these new singles. Just the right length for me to read during a lunch and a before-lights out.)
Most recent customer reviews
It clearly shows the danger of avoiding all dangers.
1. The world is a safer place than its ever been.
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