Monday, September 12, 2011

Protecting children and childhood?

Earlier today, I shared this post from Free Range Kids - "Five Freedoms I Had that My Daughter Won't" - on Facebook.

Like the blogger, I am inclined to think that kids today need more free time and unstructured play than they seem to be allowed - I favor more (not less) recess at school.

I admire the work of organizations like KaBoom!, a national non-profit organization with the mission of building "a place to play within walking distance of every child in America."

A mission like this recognizes that the kinds of childhood experiences that adults (like myself) wish to protect and promote are (and were), in fact, not accessible to all children.

For each of us who thinks back on the freedoms we had as children, I wonder how many other adults remembers not feeling especially free as children. There might be good reasons why some parents think they are taking better care of their children than they were.

So, in a way, I am critical of the idea that we ought to be protecting children and childhood. Clearly, this is not just about children and childhood. Plus, we run at risk of further romanticizing childhood in ways that I think ultimately undermine a concept of children as themselves agents of culture and society. Which I think is what it ultimately means to respect children and childhood.

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