Friday, 12 February 2010

Panic, Paranoia ... Part2

When I talked to a colleague about our harpy encounter in Cambridge he inspired me to research a bit further. I couldn't believe it when he told me that schools have cancelled sport events because kids might get hurt. However, he was right. I found two newspaper stories referring to different incidents.

The Telegraph reported in June 2008 that a school in West Sussex cancelled an event due to uneven ground, and the Daily Mail published in July 2008 that an event in Washington, Tyne and Wear got cancelled because kids might fall over in fun races.

Another aspect of paranoia came to light when the Guardian reported that education chiefs in Swansea, south Wales had concerns about the safety of road trips performed by parents bringing their kids to sport events like friendly football games. They didn't actually advise to cancel, but it happened anyway because organisers got cold feet and are now waiting for clear guidelines. The same story was picked up by BBC news as well.

This makes me raise the question: In which way do these people think they are qualified to help our kids grow into adults tough enough to take on the world?

The metaphor of a plant raised in a glass house thus never having felt the wind and in turn will break as soon as it gets outside, is often used - and it is true. Wrapping kids in cotton wool might keep their skin intact, but will keep their minds weak.

I can't help but feel that this is not about protecting the children anymore, but about protecting the adults against guilt and prosecution. And this is a trap into which parents can fall as well.

I never will forget the little story my friend told me when she had to let loose of her little almost three year old for the first time:

Living in a cul-de-sac area the kids were used to playing in the street and they knew how to behave when a car came, however her little one always walked to visit friends either together with her or with dad.

One day the door bell rang and the five year old boy from down the street came asking if his friend were free to play at his house.

And then mum swallowed the knot in her throat, put on his jacket and watched from the kitchen window the five year old firmly holding her little one's hand, who happily walked away without sparing a glance for her.

And she wasn't sure whether to laugh or to cry, and whether the pain or the pride were the stronger emotion.

We will never be able to avoid moments like those. And this is not just about kids, this is about all our loved ones and it is about ourselves. If we allow fear to take over - we never will be able to feel the pride!

Some more thoughts around the issue of taking own decisions and taking on the fear:

A Little Tale
Flying Chicken


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