There's a new book being talked about particularly around parenting circles and it looks like it will be a best seller. "Dangerous Book for Boys" is its title, and that in itself certainly makes it intriguing. From the description (and I haven't yet read it) it's a salute to the "young boy" sense of adventure, the natural curiosity and quest for that taste of danger that lives within each one of us (yes, girls too). Who doesn't want to know how to cartwheel, or make the perfect waterbomb?
I like the concept of it, probably because of its pure simplicity. Things that may now seem somewhat "dangerous" were really just fun and games and activities of the innocent back when I was a kid. Not that I partook in that type of behaviour - no, my childhood pursuits were more academic and artistic in nature. More befitting of a girl, dance and piano lessons were what kept me busy. Any athletic pursuits were in very controlled settings ie. the swimming pool and skating rink for figure eights. I was forbidden to do any skiing (snow or water) or anything else that would have the potential for injury. I consider myself quite a cautious, reserved person, and it's hard to know if it was nature or nurture that made me this way.
My husband, well he lived almost the polar opposite type of childhood. His days were spent running and tripping around, riding his bike, hanging from trees in his Speedo swim trunks. He made a game of counting all his bruises every time he had a bath, proudest when he had a new crop surface. When he describes his childhood, it sounds picture perfect. Even now as an adult, he isn't afraid to try new things -- he loves to travel, doesn't really like to stay at the same place more than once as there's just so much more to experience in life, and he doesn't fret much about things that aren't in his control.
Now that we have a little boy (and a littler girl), we're trying to encourage them to explore the world, be open to new experiences and to try not to be held back by unfounded fears or fear of the unknown (especially when they are fears that we as parents harbour for them). It seems to be a more dangerous world now, though, and it is our natural inclination to want to protect them. It is a fine balance.
I can't wait to get my hands on this book, perhaps even more for myself. While I feel that I did have a nice childhood, there should always be more time for play in life. It's never too late for that.