Even the most careful athlete sometimes pulls a muscle. Does that mean that vigorous and sometimes even risky exercise is more dangerous than being a cordoned and cosseted couch potato?
Many of the gendarmes who oversee America’s playgrounds seem to think so. I don’t know how real the so-called “epidemic” of obesity is. (Is the fat infectious?) But it wouldn’t surprise me if kids banned from playing one “dangerous” game after another tend to accumulate more flab than when they were rambunctiously running around like they always used to do.
Even playing tag is outlawed in some places. Along with cops and robbers, monkey bars, and sliding into third base. Playground mats laid down to break possible falls are the latest terror. The sun sometimes makes them hot, and barefooted kids can burn their feet.
Playground activists are in an uproar over this latest bogus crisis. When are the canopies going up?
Philip Howard, the author of The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America, says we’re teaching kids to be flabby in more ways than one. He notes that scrapes and bruises are one way “children learn their limits, and the need to take personal responsibility.”
Life is an inherently risky venture. You don’t learn to cope with those risks if you are never allowed to take even modest ones. And that’s dangerous.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.