I must say, I felt a little uneasy with my kids playing around the seesaws, afraid that they would get "cherry bombed" or whacked in the face as they tried to maneuver on and off. As I tried to assure myself that I managed to survive my childhood despite many hours spent seesawing with my sister and neighborhood friends, I watched with interest as the kids tried to figure the whole thing out. As pretty young children, we were able to negotiate the physics of levers pretty easily, figuring out who needed to sit where to make the whole thing work.
These kids did not have this fundamental understanding of the physical world. I watched as parents tried to explain it - but it isn't something that can be explained, at least not easily. It needs to be experienced. And when we strip down our kids' experiences to include only that are without risk, we also deprive them of so many opportunities to learn about themselves and about the world.
So, I'm certainly not advocating that we throw all caution to the wind. I'm all for airbags and carseats and seatbelts and all that kind of thing - but I think some sort of cost/benefit analysis is in order. What are we willing to sacrifice in order to protect our kids from some bumps and bruises?
I am a scholar-turned-mother/activist who is interested in sustainable living and social justice. I have published a number of articles and given presentations internationally on the topics of voluntary simplicity and humane parenting. Learn more at my website www.beautifulfriendships.net.