My childhood was in many ways idyllic. For a child. Of course there were downsides but mostly I remember freedom. Running around outside, in the woods, through long grasses with other children away from adults. Even once at boarding school there were times when we were allowed to go out and play. No supervision, well visible at least, and play involved building sod damns of earth and big ponds of water. But I digress, I know for a fact that my childhood was not unique. These days though that’s not the case. Children are supervised at all times it seems, and I have often thought they don’t have any real freedom to be children and explore the world from their prospective. So it was great to read this article The Over Protected Kid by Hanna Rosin in The Atlantic. In it she discusses this very issue and how it is damaging our children. One quote stood out for me. Kyung-Hee Kim found after researching Torrance Creative Thinking Tests discovered over the last decade (from 2011), that American children’s scores had dropped across the board. They were,
“less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle.”
I’m a father and still new to having a swiftly growing human living with me. One of the reasons we moved to the Yukon was in the hope that our little guy would have the same opportunities to play that both his parents enjoyed growing up. It’s a long read for an article but well worth your time. Perhaps the pendulum is swing back to common sense?