Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Dangerous Book for Boys

[Originally posted on on June 10, 2007]

Can't wait to get a copy of this. Heard one of the authors on NPR, and it sounds great. The lost art of getting dirty, Childhood Unplugged. For girls, too, of course.

My husband and son have been making their own bottle-rocket launcher, which has involved trips to the local hardware store and to Home Depot for PVC pipe, toxic glues,
hacksaws, drill bits, etc. We are close to liftoff. We also take our son to Building Nights at MIT, where they pass out screwdrivers to the kids and let them take apart computer printers and small appliances. As the good folks at MAKE magazine say, if you haven't voided the warranty, it isn't yours.

On a recent visit to Great Brook Farm State Park (former dairy farm in eastern Mass., with hiking trails and its own ice cream concession, made from the milk of their own cows) I watched some parents repeatedly cautioning their kids to BE SAFE and STAY CLEAN: Don't climb on the rocks! Stay out of the pond! What is wrong with this picture??

I swear, I am going to found Camp Skinned Knee, where kids are guaranteed to fall out of apple trees, break arms, skin their knees, fall on their heads, and get muddy, grass-stained, mosquito-bitten, and basically be allowed to be kids. There is something wrong when kids have injuries from playing competitive sports, ruining their throwing arms at age 11, but we won't let them explore their own safety zone in real kid pursuits.

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