The other day I heard someone say it is a shame children today do not get to experience getting hit in the face by a big red ball during a game of dodgeball.
And they are right.
I loved dodgeball when I was in school; mainly because I was really good at it.
I could twist and turn and was rarely taken out of the game. I did get hit in the face a couple times, but that was just part of the fun.
We did all sorts of sports, games and goofing around that ended in minor injuries. It was called being a kid and it was something we all accepted as simply part of life.
In elementary school, we used to play tackle football at lunch without any gear. We could have played flag football I guess, but it was just not the same.
Following a rambunctious 30-minute game, just about everyone had some sort of minor injury from grass burns on our elbows to bruises and even the occasional black eye – which was worn as a badge of honour. But we were all ready to go again the next day.
Nowadays, teachers and parents are so worried about Junior getting a boo-boo they have banned pretty much all contact sports. One school even banned tag because a child might fall and hurt themselves while running from the person who was 'it.'
Really? Tag is nothing but running and fitness and building cardio. And then they wonder why Junior is so, um, er, weight enhanced at such a young age.
I played hours of tag when I was a kid and I don't ever recall someone getting hurt.
If someone fell down, they dusted themselves off and got back up – simple as that. The worst part of falling down was it usually meant whoever was chasing you, caught you and now you were it.
No need to call the paramedics for that.
Another school banned soccer because – you guessed it – someone might get hurt. Here is another sport that involves nothing but running around a field. There is no tackling, body checking or any real physical contact, but someone was worried some how a child could receive a minor injury while having fun so they had better cancel having fun.
It's all part of the 'helicopter parenting' that has taken hold of North America in its overly cautious grip.
I admit, I too have been a hovering parent at times, but not so much when it came to letting my boys be boys.
Every parent wants to protect their child, but there is a time when you simply have to step back and let them get a bruise or two.
It's part of life. I did it, my dad did it, his dad did it and so on and we all survived.
I am not saying to let them jump off a small cliff holding onto a bed sheet as a parachute because that really does not work - trust me on this one - but a little rough housing is just fine.
Oh, and also maybe don't let them try to jump from one branch of a pine tree to another because if they miss that really hurts too.
But my sons would often come home with bruises from skateboarding or crashing their peddle bikes – something I had done more times than my mom could recall – and they are now healthy adults with a few scars to tell stories about with their friends.
In the quest to keep children safe from harm they are also keeping them from having any fun, experiencing life (which involves bumps and bruises) and doing what kids do.
I got way more hurt playing organized sports than rough housing, so let them take a big red ball to the face, let them fall out of a tree, let them have fun (but keep the bandaids handy).
Copyright 2016, Darren Handschuh