Saturday, July 14, 2012


As my five year old grand-daughter and I walked through the field,  she got close enough to see the full extent of the rope swing hanging far off the ground in the tall trees.  She slowed and then stopped. 

"I have never been on a swing this high, Noni!"

  I suggested we go a bit closer so we could take a good look.  After I took a turn, she was game....
AGAIN .....
and AGAIN!
My husband is riding his bicycle from Seattle to Portland as I write this.  Last month he completed a bicycle ride over Logan Pass -  the Going-to-the-Sun highway -  in Glacier National Park. Adventure is on his mind.  And this is the time of year when for many many summers I took high schoolers into the woods to test themselves via Challenge Course events and watched amazing things happen when young people took risks.

So we have been talking about how to instill a sense of adventure in children.   How do we add risk to play?  How do we encourage kids to enjoy challenges vs shy away from them?  How do we help them learn about safety by experiencing risk?  How do we teach them that failure can bring wonderful things?

Several months ago I read Todd and Victoria Buchholz' article The Go-Nowhere Generation in The New York Times.  They point out the Stay-close-to-Home, Adventure-Avoidance attitudes in many teens and young adults today and wonder if it is yet another piece of the fall-out from our economic times.
Gever Tulley, founder of a summer program called The Tinkering School, suggests we let kids play with fire!  And he's not totally kidding.

Are we raising risk-averse kids?  I hope not.  But it does seem that our concerns about safety and litigation are getting in the way of instilling the "I-CAN-DO-IT!" attitude that we so desperately need and want our children and young people to possess.