Not too long ago, even with the passage of time at the speed of light, my two children were in elementary school. The school was a special place; dingy, old, with spectacular budget cuts but a sparkling and enduring spirit. It had, unfortunately, very modern views on safety.
In early fall, time outs were given if a child did not wear their sweater outside. This because a cold always leads to a quick and painful death. If you picked up a wood chip in the garden, the playground monitor would scream, certain it would be used as a weapon.
When that first snowfall hit its one precious field, the children clamoured to touch, pack, play with every single new snowflake-building snowmen, igloos, icy slides.
Forts were prohibited at every cost. “Forts Lead to Fights” the authorities shouted.
My youngest and her pals built a lopsided snowman in earnest and were told to dismantle it because it looked threateningly like a fort.
If you picked up a snowflake on your black mitt to marvel at it’s unique design you were told to go to the office because throwing snow, even picking it up was verboten.
The wise and adventuresome devils always found ways to break the ridiculous rules in the dark corners out of view from the playground gestapo.
This fear of the unsafe was a greater burden than any danger that lay out there, in my opinion.
What crazy safety rules have you encountered in the playground of your children’s lives? What do you think of this anaesthetizing of all things “unsafe”?