Hi Readers! Many of you are already familiar with Gever Tulley, the guy who runs the Tinkering School and did the famous TED speech on the “5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do.” (Recently expanded into a book, “Fifty Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do.”)
Now he’s come up with a very cool new term, “Dangerism,” which is the idea of looking at the things a particular society at a particular time considers dangerous. He gives some great examples of, for instance, a mom who lets her kids spend the day roaming the countryside behind her house with rifles, because, “There’s a lot less trouble to get into out there in the woods than there is at the mall.” Another example: Many American kids won’t own a knife until they get their first apartment. But Inuit kids start using knives at age three, because they’re expected to learn how to cut themselves some blubber.
So I started making a list in my own mind of things we have newly decided are dangerous — many of them documented on this blog: Recess when it’s cold out. Running on the playground. Walking to school. Waiting at the bus stop. Crawling. (Hence, baby knee-pads.) Boy Scouts whittling with knives. Girl Scouts toasting marshmallows without first putting one knee on the ground. (Yes, that’s the rule now: One knee on the ground or the dangers of keeling into the fire are far too great.)
I’d love to expand this list — or maybe make two: One list of the things that our culture is “dangerizing.” And maybe another of the things that are NOT considered overly dangerous in other, less scaredy- cat cultures. Got some ideas? Add ’em! Thanks! — Lenore