Growing up in the sixties, in Southern California, we were all over town on our bikes up in every neighbor’s tree and we spent countless hours digging underground forts in the empty fields behind the house. We sometimes got hurt, although not badly, were pretty dirty until bath time and kept Band-Aid in business for years. We were not alone; all of us kids carried our childhood wounds with pride, sometimes even sporting a cast.
What I remember is that my parents didn’t protect me from my interest in electricity, although maybe not aware of how many times I got a shock. They supported my interest and created opportunities for me to work on my electronic projects from an early age. I still have the telephone lineman’s pliers in my tool box that I received from my grandparents on my seventh birthday over fifty years ago. I can’t work on telephone lines without them. When I wanted a Heathkit electronics laboratory in the fifth grade, my Mother made a list of electronic and electrical terms on a yellow pad that I had to learn to merit the gift. Frankly, I was surprised to know that my Mom knew the definition of an Erg! (Erg=10 to the minus 7 Joules)
Taking risks, pushing the envelope, trying new things and occasionally getting injured helped us to grow into confident adults. Perhaps the combination of potential liability, insurance companies and over protective parenting has created a safe but non-challenging environment. When was the last time you saw a “high dive” or even a diving board at a public pool?
Are we too protective of our children that we limit their opportunities, setting them into safer situations in front of the computer, television, or iPad? If we want our kids and grand-kids to be builders or even amateur radio operators, we may have to open the doors and let the kids out into the world. I don’t have the answer. I am only asking the questions.
73, Eric 4Z1UG