I love this TED Talk. I've long been a believer that by sheltering our children and not exposing them to dangerous things in a controlled way that they will not know how to deal with those dangers when they're thrust into a situation where they must.
I grew up climbing trees and building tree houses - one in particular that actually collapsed from about three-stories up with a friend standing on it (he's alive and well and has a little boy of his own these days). My parents bought me a Swiss Army Knife before I was a teenager that got plenty of use.
I got six stitches in my hand using a razor blade building a model battleship when I was about 12 years old. And after a very bloody (and painful) Monday night trip to an urgent care facility to get those stitches, did they ban me from ever touching a blade or a model again? Nope. Instead they bought me my first X-Acto knife set and made sure I learned my lesson that you always cut away from your body.
I'm also a firm believer that every child should be taught to handle a weapon from an early age. Whether that comes in the form of a BB gun (got one for Christmas when I turned 12) and/or a lesson on handling an actual firearm, it's so important they learn the basic tenets of firearm safety:
- Treat every gun as if it were loaded, regardless of perceived or actual condition.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
- Always keep a gun pointed in a safe direction and never point your weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot. (This one was explained to me as "Imagine a laser beam coming from the end of the barrel that would cut through anything - or anyone - that crossed it's path.")
- Be sure of your target and know what's between you and your target as well as what's behind your target.
Learning to respect and follow these rules to a fault while having the opportunity to actually handle a firearm means that in the event your child were to ever come into contact with a weapon while not under supervision, they're both less likely to be curious about it and more likely to respect the power of that weapon.
Whether or not you agree with that particular point (and I fully appreciate there are many who won't), the bottom line here is let your kids get hurt. Let them break a bone, get stitches, and earn some bumps, bruises, and scars. It may make them a lot safer than you think!
BONUS: Were You Born in the '50s, '60s, '70s, or '80s? I Can't Believe You Made It!