We Once Knew Danger

We spy a glorious climbing tree at the park, and I set my children loose. I remember my 7 year-old self running free through the neighborhood and finding a tree like this.

I climbed to the very top and peered out over the city. The wind whipped me. The tree swayed. The branches snapped and barely held me up.

I knew real danger then. We all did. Life was different.

I rode my bike alone (without a helmet, with no hands) all over town.

I jumped across the creek to try to land on the opposite bank. I balanced on fallen logs over deep waters. I fell out of trees so that my mother–nearly fainting from the blood–took me to the emergency room to remove part of a branch from my arm. I still have the scar.

My children don’t have scars. I monitor everything. It’s all about safety. It’s all about risk management.

But as I look up into that beautiful tree that rises up for miles, I send them up into it and walk away.

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  1. I love this post. I often think of the adventures that I had as a child, and how the “controlled” danger I experienced (being able to climb trees, run through the neighborhood, and bike wherever I wanted — without supervision) isn't quite the same childhood that most kids experience now.

    Helmets? Who needed helmets when we were young! What a wonder that we all survived! 🙂

  2. YES – there is no advancing, no exploration, no discovery if we fear danger; it is there but we need to go anyway….leave our bubbles and challenge. Am reading an incredible book addressing just this, “Waldon on Wheels.” Highly recommend it; half way through, haven't gotten to the wheels but the other adventures are amazing.