(First…. when was the last time I blogged? No idea. I am letting Kate do all the heavy lifting. Oh well, she is better at it than me.)
(Second… This post does not mean to disrespect my own parents. I turned out fine, and unharmed, and I think they trusted me to do the right thing.)
So I was driving back from NY on Saturday and thinking about cute little Owen, and thinking about him growing up. Kate and I had just spoken on the phone and she said he was trying to climb onto everything (well not exactly climb, but just pull up), and joked that he needed a climbing wall. Now I used to do a fair amount of rock climbing in my youth and have done a little bit in the past few years, and DO think it’s a great activity for young children. I’ve watched young children at the climbing gym do routes much more difficult than I can do, largely because of their size/weight, small hands, and the fact that most children are like monkeys.
Anyway, I was then thinking about how many seemingly dangerous things I did growing up, and how right now I can’t imagine letting Owen do these things. Let’s tick through a few things:
-Rock Climbing: I started in 7th grade with and under the supervision of my step-father. I was pretty attentive to the safety procedures and climbing, when done properly is very safe. But by high school, I guess I had developed enough proficiency that I would often go climbing with just my friends, and my parents trusted that we wouldn’t kill ourselves. We didn’t, but I imagine that some safety measures were (unintentionally) skipped, because we were young and careless at times.
-Climbing trees: Along the same line as rock climbing, because several of my friends started rock climbing with me in junior high we used to have get togethers at each others homes, where we’d bring our ropes and harnesses and climbing gear, and tackle a tree like it was Mount Everest. While in theory, using all this gear made us climb more safely, I think that that was a false sense of safety as we’d go higher and higher. Again, there were no MAJOR injuries, but I do recall a few incidents with rappelling from trees that ended in a twisted ankle and some major rope burn. We also used to sleep overnight in trees on platforms that we built with our gear. This was highly uncomfortable and we were harnessed in, but still…..
-Mountain Biking: Really this is no more dangerous than any other sport, and arguably safer than road biking, but I had my share of spills and cuts and bruises. I started mountain biking with my father and he watched me go off some drops that now would make me sick to my stomach. I DO look forward to biking with Owen though, as it is safe enough if you use caution, and it’s a great activity to do together. But the thought of watching him try something dangerous makes me cringe right now.
-Zip Lines: This probably takes the cake and is tied in with the climbing rocks and trees. My friend and I on a couple occasions built zip lines in his backyard. The first one was built before we had really started rock climbing so we didn’t have the proper gear, or know a lot of the safety measures to take. We bought some rope at a hardware store (which in hindsight was really not strong enough) and I made a harness out of a backpack. We did all this under some parental supervision as we tethered a rope between two trees and jumped out of them “gliding” to the ground. Again, we clearly survived this, but still….
Anyway, I guess thinking about the activities of my past make me think about what I’ll feel comfortable allowing or watching Owen to do. He already seems like a bit of a daredevil as he loves to be upside down or tossed in the air. I DO think that most of these “adventure” sports are safe when done correctly but like anything there is some risk involved.
I guess the alternative is that we can just teach him how to play chess.