Wednesday, June 14, 2006
America is Becoming a Nation of Wimps
With every new generation Americans are becoming bigger wimps. There is a group within our society that is nannying us to death, trying to remove every last possible potential harm to us. The focus of this nannying is primarily our children. At first glance it might seem smart to try to protect the kids from harm, but this can be taken too far; we can protect our kids too much.
I grew up a long time ago. In the 50s, we had swings, slides, merry-go-rounds, monkey bars and the usual assortment of playground equipment, both on school playgrounds and on public playgrounds. We all lived through that experience with few injuries, and none more serious that a skinned knee or arm, or perhaps the occasional broken bone. Even the parents of the kid who broke his arm weren’t too upset; they didn’t want to close the playground or sue the city or the school system.
These days those two issues are the problem: 1) a nearly manic effort to protect kids from growing up, and 2) the proclivity of some people to sue somebody for whatever happens in their lives.
On the news today was a story about playground safety that told us that the Oregon school system is about to ban swings and such fun stuff as playing tag from playgrounds because of safety and litigation issues. School systems already spend a fortune on “new and improved” (safer) playground equipment. Estimates are that in order to build a safer playground will cost around $70,000. That’s way too much. And taking traditional equipment off the playground is sort of stupid.
Getting hurt was part of growing up. You learned a lot when you got hurt. These nannys and lawsuit-happy people need to grow and become responsible adults. What playgrounds need is not safer equipment that costs a fortune, or banning certain equipment and games. What we need is adequate supervision on the playgrounds, and the acknowledgement that it is okay, even good, for kids to get hurt once in a while, and when that happens, you comfort them, treat their injury, and move on.
Kids, Fun, Growing Up, Safety, Frivolous Litigation