Parents, what’s with most of them out there!?
During my trip to the park last weekend and it was packed, kids aimlessly walking around or confusingly playing, overprotective parents continuously telling their children not to climb on this or that, too high over there, slow down, and any other non-progressive learning points that should be occurring for children ranging from two to 12 years old!
So here’s my perspective:
LET. THEM. FALL. Let them crash. Let them feel pain. It’s a normal and a massively under allowed portion of growing up it seems these days. I think Alfred Pennyworth from ‘Batman’ put it best, “Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.”
Too simple, right? I can honestly count on both hands, with four children, the times I have picked them up off the ground. Why? Because I want them to understand that even when your hurt, or at your lowest, you still have the ability or strength to find the drive, to get back up. It’s grossly apparent as the playground chaos ensued.
Now, in terms of parents needing to be more involved. When I go to the park, I realize I’m committing to my childhood ways for the sake of my kids because I would obviously not be there otherwise; not my top extracurricular activity locations you see.
So, I prepare. Put the damn phone away! Dress accordingly: maneuverability, temperature, water, athletic shoes (depending on the site), etc… then, I prepare to be a kid again. I have found myself establishing the ‘base’ and general rules during the tag game, I will at random point to other kids on the grounds (making sure they notice it), and tell other kids to tag them as I catapult myself over a beam, skate down a slide, and run away to avoid being tagged myself. As I tire or become bored with the game, I’ll change the event.
“Everyone, get on the merry-go-round! This train is taking off and it has one speed, ludicrous speed!”
Yes, that’s a reference to one of my favorites, ‘Spaceballs’. At this point, an evaluation is conducted to determine what type of children are on the wheel of death, and if I deem them worthy to be able to maintain that speed, we begin. My children usually position themselves in challenging locations on the ride, and therefore yield the ‘G-Force’ spin at maximum, and subsequently catapult off at lightspeed.
This is how kids should be playing! They’re meant to be challenged in more ways than one. Physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, personally… (fill in your continued list here if you agree). Why? So they can begin to nurture themselves, so they can survive in the ‘wild’ of today’s society (at a national and international level), and won’t be that person in the group, or solo, who can’t handle their shit. Yes, that person.
Play with your kids and show them it’s okay to be goofy. Be the example for them to understand how to mature and be contributors to society through the small things that make some of the great memories they’ll have from their childhood.