generation * next

i read an interesting article the other day {thanks rebecca!} that has really gotten me thinking. the article was about kids. specifically, the upcoming generation of kids. our kids. my kids. and while the article was more eloquently written than my version, it basically said if we’re not careful this next generation of kids are going to be wienies *mild* children that lack self confidence and the ability to take risks and figure things out on their own.

it was thought provoking. and really got me thinking {can you tell it got me thinking? i’ll stop saying that now…} i talked to lover, who happens to be a physical education teacher at a local high school, who said he can already see the trend in his group of high schoolers. high schoolers that grew up with little outdoor play, with parents that kept them in a protective bubble, not allowing them to do *normal* kid things like climbing trees and pounding nails with real hammers and getting dirty for fear they would get hurt/sick/all of the above. when in reality, they were hurting them in ways they didn’t realize. hurting them, by not allowing them to make discoveries for themselves, to learn from their mistakes, to take risks and learn the hard way {read : if i climb that tree and don’t grab on just so, i slip! i fall! it hurts! bad. next time i won’t grab that branch that way and i’ll see what happens…} to be adventurous. adventurers.

here are a few interesting highlights from this article :

*1 in 10 of today’s children plays outside once a week or less.*

*children learn from experience, not from lectures*

*children should climb trees, it’s vital for their emotional development that they are allowed to trip up, pick themselves up and learn from their experience. they need to build up resilience.*

*generally, our society as a whole treats young people with kid gloves.*

now of course this article is not simply saying that the act of climbing trees is important. what it’s saying is that it’s important to allow your child to take risks, to potentially fail, to get a little hurt, to learn from experiences; and by doing this, you are enabling them to learn, to discover things for themselves, to soak up the phenomena of cause and effect, to gain confidence in their abilities once they figure it out and {gasp} how to be. a. kid.

this then threw me into another round of thinking. what can i do to ensure my kids are given the opportunity to take reasonable risks. we don’t have trees in our yard to climb…but the park does. and we do have a garage full of tools that we could get out and explore and use and learn from. the thing is it takes time. and patience. something we {me} may not always have, so we have to weigh the options as parents :

  • do we take the time to let our children explore? let them learn how to use new tools? build confidence? and become self-assured?
  • or do we flake out? do we think it’s a waste of time or that we’re too busy, and suddenly, the television is babysitting while we’re pinning on pinterest or facebooking that oh-so-important friend we barely knew in high school

hmmmm…i know which option i’ll choose…do you?

so let’s take the bull by the horns. let’s take an oath, as parents who want MORE for their children :

{insert your own name/kids names}

i, stacey worthington, declare, on oath, that i will do everything within my ability to encourage my children to be critical thinking, confident individuals; that i will not hover over turbojet, sunshine and sweet pea quite so much; that i will take off my *kid gloves* and allow my children take some reasonable risks. i will step back and let them flirt with cause and effect. i will let them get dirty. i will let them use their own little minds to figure things out, to discover. i pledge to be there to help them along the way without giving them the answer directly thus developing essential critical thinking skills. i will let them explore and use new tools and skills to gain more confidence; all in a valiant effort to encourage them to grow as individuals. i take this oath freely and without mental reservations, so help me God. 🙂

it will be worth the scrapes and bumps for the lessons learned and the confidence built. let’s not settle for the *mild* generation. let’s take it into our own hands to raise confident, problem solving, risk takers!

to the moon! or at least to the top of that tree…




it is physically impossible for me to blog without a picture and since i haven’t gotten a chance to take tree climbing pictures {yet}, perhaps an adorable gladiator will do…

stacey - bahahahahahaaha! that made me laugh outloud! thank you for pledging to rid my boys of all their deadly germs 🙂 ha!

Lisa - and I Lisa Wagner, pledge to always carry hand sanitizer… so when Stac decides to allow Sunshine to roam through bushes looking for treasure, and He pops up with a dead bird which he propels to the ground in victory…I solomely swear to be ready at all times to irraticate his hands of DEAD BIRD GERMS! It is my honor and duty!

Arlene - Great proclamation! They are Worthingtons, so it’s to be expected.
Don’t forget that it will inevitably mean trips to the Emergency Room. But as long they don’t get to know your kids by name as they walk in the hospital…then it gives them stories to tell as they grow up. 🙂
…and this scar is from…and this one is from… 😉

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