Saturday, October 13, 2007

Safe and Fun?

The Dallas Morning News ran a story today on a theme that seems recurrent across the United States over the last decade: school recess times are becoming shorter and, by some standards, more safe.

I say by some standards, as the focus to me seems to be narrow. Eliminating fun games like tag, red rover, and dodge ball may result in fewer bruised elbows and scraped knees, but it also makes play time boring. At a time when many kids are already too inclined to sit in front of television sets and computer screens, with the result that a disproportionate percentage are obese, isn't there some health risk in making outdoor play boring?

Not to mention that fun ways of getting exercise helps kids work off excess energy so they can calm down when they get back to class. But why risk a slip and fall on the pavement when we can instead drug our kids into submission?

I am frankly glad that I grew up in a time when a scraped knee, or even a knot on the head, was not seen as a catastrophe to be avoided at all costs.

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