November 20, 2016

Fragility, Risk, and Freedom: Stop Complaining About Trophies for Our Special Snowflakes

Graduation Baby

At the beginning of this school year, the University of Chicago announced that it did not support “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” for its students. This was done in the name of freedom of expression and with the intention of promoting the exchange of ideas, both certainly important parts of any university’s mission.

Yet this announcement comes at a time when the rates of anxiety and depression among college students are increasing and when, justified or not, popular opinion holds that emotional fragility defines this generation.

Read more

September 14, 2016

ATTENTION! Don't worry.

Nature Sign

This sign is posted along a nature trail in our neighborhood near Washington, DC. I have to wonder what inspired it. Did someone report a chipmunk? A duck? God forbid, a skunk? Is the sign—which contains the telephone numbers for both Animal Control and Park Operations—supposed to prevent further inquiries? Warning! Nature has animals. This is normal.

Read more

September 09, 2016

Currently Not Recommended

I love the idea of adventure playgrounds. I let my kids climb trees as high as they are able. I am fine with kids climbing the “wrong” way up a slide. Bailing out of a swing? Great!

While I think we’ve gone too far with our societal obsession about children’s safety and have nearly child-proofed (and fun-proofed) the modern playground, all I have to do is look at images of century-old playground equipment to see the other extreme.

Read more

August 30, 2016

"Containerized Kids"

Square Baby

Containerized Kids. This term scares me. It was coined by Jane Clark, a University of Maryland professor of kinesiology, and it describes the newest generation of babies and toddlers who are confined to a daily assortment of constricting spaces: strollers, bouncy seats, high chairs, bumbos, jumperoos, infant car seat carriers, and pack-and-plays, to name a few. So not only are today’s kids missing out on nature, but they are being further boxed into their inside worlds.

Read more

Older Entries Newer Entries