Friday, February 8, 2008

Get dangerous with kids

Here’s a fun TED talk by Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School. He talks about the importance, in this often hyper-paranoid era of overprotecting children, of letting kids do “dangerous” things that allow them to explore the world and feel some power over it. Among his suggestions for dangerous things you should let your kids do: Play with fire (“you can think of the open pit fire as a laboratory” where they’ll learn about “intake, combustion and exhaust,” he says), own a pocket knife (“it’s a powerful and empowering tool”); throw a spear (practicing throwing things improves visual problem solving, concentration, and predictive abilities among other skills, he says); and deconstruct appliances.

As I listened to him talk he evoked some of my most treasured memories of childhood: There was nothing I loved more than sitting on my dad’s lap as I steered our car down some dusty mountain backroad. And I always enjoyed poking sticks around in a campfire (although it was my brother who was the real pyromaniac and fire builder – his passion for fire has survived to this day). And one of my fondest memories of middle school involved taking apart and trying to understand an electric pencil sharpener with my friend Stacie in sixth grade. It was part of a little science project we invented (I think we were examining how graphite conducts electricity).

The hyper-paranoid mom in me will probably stall for a year or two, but I’m seeing pocket knife in Will’s not-too-distant future. And the next time the toaster breaks, we're breaking out the screw drivers.

7 comments:

shannon said...

Yes! The sheer joy of danger has to be good for something in your body. As kids, my brother and I would get the tallest ladder and pull it to the tree, take the monkey swing to the top, hold the rope and jump on the seat, swinging in a frenzy - we never hit the ladder on the way back!

vbacwarrior said...

Hi! I love your blog :) My family and I are moving to Columbus next month and it's nice to see there are some "like-minded" moms in the area :)

April said...

I LOVE this advice! My kids don't have too many tools at this point (other than sticks, rocks, and shovels), but Lucy climbs trees as high as she can. Jasper has climbed AND fallen out of a tree (and lived to tell about it). My children court danger like moss finds the north side of a tree.

Erin said...

Love it!

I refuse to be a helicopter mama to my children. They need the freedom to explore, fall, run, and sometimes get hurt and fail at things. The protective bubble that many parents are raising their children in is sad and leading to a generation of physically and emotionally weak children!

Annie Addington said...

Yes, I'm a reformed helicopter mom myself. And looking forward to the day when I can watch Will climb his first big tree. For now he just hides in the low branches of crape myrtles.

Glad you're coming to town, vbac warrior. You'll have to get connected with the Columbus Birth and Breastfeeding Network -- see the link on the right side of my blog. Last I heard, VBACs were about to go the way of the dinosaurs in Columbus because doctors here are getting more and more unwilling to do them... Maybe you can inspire some other warriors though.

vbacwarrior said...

about vbac going the way of the dinosaur, I must respectfully disagree :) The safest place for most vbac's is at home, and OBs don't attend homebirths, so it's okay if they don't want to attend vbacs :)

Annie Addington said...

Good point. I should have said hospital VBACs. Definitely check out that birth network -- they're doing work on the subject as we speak.