Independent biking

And then I read THIS!

Independent bikingI had another blog post planned for today, and then read this article, and nearly blew my top! 
When is the fear mongering going to stop? Police and Child Services sent to a home in which the mother DARED allow her children to play outside. Insanity.

This is yet another example of how terrified our society has become. We are scared to let the kids play outside, scared to let them climb trees, splash in rivers, challenge themselves on the playground. We are scared they will get hurt, scared they will be kidnapped, scared we will get in a car accident, scared someone will report us, and on and on it goes. We, as a society, are just plain terrified. And to what end?

Anxiety disorders are on the rise, ADHD is on the rise, childhood obesity is on the rise. And crime? “Police-reported crime in Canada continued to fall in 2013. The national crime rate dropped 8% and was at its lowest level since 1969, while the crime severity index (CSI) declined 9% and was 36% lower than in 2003”. (Ministry of Justice Crime Fact Sheet)

So how have we gotten here? How, in less than 20 years, while our world has gotten safer, have we become a society of fear? I believe that media, and social media has a LOT to do with it. We are bombarded by fear inducing events from every angle. Amber alerts, the war on terror, the latest shooting, etc.  Has the world become less safe? I say no, we just HEAR about every little event, whether it is relevant to us or not.  

We do not watch the news in our house, and that is a conscious choice. Our life is awesome, we live in a safe neighbourhood, and we have great friends. I do not need to hear about the latest shooting in the USA. It is not relevant to my life, nor does it do ANYTHING to improve my life. When my kids do happen to see or hear the news, they become more worried and more anxious. How about, instead of watching the six o’clock news after supper, you go for a family walk or bike ride? Bet you’ll feel better!

My childhood was spent playing outside with the neighbourhood kids. We were physically active, we were happy, we were social, and we were unsupervised and WE WERE FINE.  I don’t remember anyone who was diagnosed with any kind of “disorder”, and everyone was physically active.  We rolled down the hills, and then RAN back up, climbed trees, went outside for recess no matter the weather. We moved, ALL THE TIME. 

Think about it. Do you feel anxious and fearful when you are outside on a beautiful day, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature? Do you feel restless and fidgety after a long walk/run/bike ride? Is your body weaker when it moves in multiple directions and you push your physical limits? I’d bet the answer is no. 

Now, I’m not saying that anxiety and ADHD and weight struggles aren’t real issues. I’ve been a teacher for 12 years, and I’ve seen children, and colleagues, who needed help beyond what “going outside” could fix. And thank God we have those things in place. But these issues have reached epidemic proportions. 

Children need to release stress and anxiety, and in a society where we hear about every little bad thing that might, or does happen, they have more than they need!  They need to push their own physical limits. And yet, our fear stops them. We are so concerned that they might be taken by “bad strangers”, get hurt if they run too fast (and who are we to dictate what “too fast” is?!).  And now, we have people reporting those of us parents to DO encourage allowing our children to be healthy, outside and test their limits. I let my children play outside, by themselves, all the time. We, as parents, need to push back, to take back the right to have our children play outside. They need to learn their own boundaries, their own limits, how to problem solve without interference. What kind of future do we have in store for our world if our children spend all their time indoors? Now THAT makes me anxious.


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