This weekend when my girls went out to enjoy the sunshine and warmer temps, they immediately got out their inline skates and their new acquisition – wheelie tennis shoes. While the pavement isn’t the smoothest on which to glide, gadgets with wheels are the latest interest (except bicycles, interestingly enough) — rip stiks, a new request for an electric scooter, and wheels, wheels, wheels.
Well, I’m a mom. Immediately, I beckoned for helmets, knee pads, wrist and elbow protectors and a ton of “be careful” comments worthy of a ridiculously paranoid guardian. I kept thinking that their first time out this season might result in wobbly knees and a bit of needed balance practice. I know that my insistence on safety is warranted, but I felt the need to justify it. “You’ll be careful, but what about the drivers who don’t see you?” Or, “It only takes one bad fall …” Or, “I don’t care if not everyone wears helmets!”
I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself, then, when I read a very brief article in an old Readers Digest magazine that was passed along to me. Considering how I survived my childhood, and knowing that many readers here can easily relate, I thought I’d share it.
The Childproof Life by humorist Robert G. Lee
When I was a kid, we didn’t have padding under our jungle gyms. We had rocks.
We didn’t have safety belts on our swing sets. The whole goal was to get as high as you could, then launch yourself into the stratosphere.
We rode our bikes without helmets. Without shoes. Sometimes without clothes.
We played in creeks, ran through abandoned houses, went dam sliding, jumped on trampolines, ran our go-karts straight into oncoming traffic, and played with BB guns, with half the time spent pumping them up ‘cause we’d heard you could take out an eye.
We parachuted out of trees with bed sheets, threw lawn darts at each other, and had no sunblock, so we got burned to a crisp. Summer officially started when the first kid turned as red as a thermometer. Then we had peeling parties.
We blew up the Barbie dolls with M-80s, we ran with scissors, and our Halloween costumes were made of asbestos.
But for safety, our moms made us wait an hour after we ate before we went swimming.
I don’t agree with all of these, but I sure can relate to them and add a bevy of my own (so can you!). It doesn’t change my mind about how I choose to keep my kids safe, but it does put some things in perspective and remind me how “the times they are a-changin’.”