Recently while finishing some play equipment for our toddlers’ room in our new church school building I was reminded: “Be sure to sand off all the rough edges. The kiddies might get hurt!”
Aside from the fact that a public institution should not knowingly have any dangerous toys for children, I wonder whether we parents aren’t going a bit too far in sanding the rough edges off life for our children?
We want to bring them up with no heartaches, no troubles, no wants, no delay in having the things we didn’t have as children, and when they get married—no delay in getting all the expensive gadgets we parents had to save and scrimp 20 years to acquire.
In our over-love we want to save them the bumps and falls which are, or should be, a part of growing up. Our hearts go out to them as they struggle. So we even want to save them the pain, and also the joy, of struggle.
One sad thing I witness every day of the school year is the line of heavily-loaded public busses which go from all parts of our small city to the two junior high schools and one senior high school in the city. Parents rake and scrape and do without in order to give their children a bus ride to and from school, which is not only unnecessary but actually harmful to their bodies. While they boast of how they, the parents, used to trudge three miles to the district school through snow drifts, they allow their own children to ride in an overheated bus just ten city blocks. And any person who tells them they’re pampering and really hurting their children’s health by this indulgence gets short shrift. One dollar a week it costs these parents of Watertown for Johnny or Mary to ride to school—one dollar often taken out of a meagre family budget, and all in the name of giving ...1
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