Okay, it's time for another Mentor Mom rant! In perusing the internet this morning, I came across this. It is a story about the parents of a six year old girl in New York who received a ticket for graffiti as a result of their daughters artistic rendition of a blue flower using sidewalk chalk. The city, in an attempt to crackdown on graffiti, saw the artwork as such and issued the citation which held a $300 fine.
Okay, I have to ask when are we as a society taking things too far? Isn't it bad enough that schools our banning such as tag and dodgeball out of fear of a child getting hurt and their parents suing the district? Will cities now be banning children from using sidewalk chalk?
My husband and I often reflect on our own childhood play experiences when we read about such things. Play back then was so different. Perhaps it was because there were only four channels on the television and cartoons were limited to very early morning and Saturdays. Time was spent outdoors using our minds and creativity to keep ourselves occupied. This included lemonade stands, homemade carnivals and spook houses. Of course there was a charge for such events (the early seeds of entrepeneurialism!).
Wanting our kids to experience some of the things we did in our childhood, I went out in search of The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden and his brother, Hal. What a gem! I had heard of the book a while back when it was featured during a blogger's book tour. I put it on my list of books to check out and there it sat for about five months. I was inspired to purchase the book when the book and author were featured on a recent segment of the The Rachel Ray Show about couch potato kids. Not wanting to put it off any longer, I ran right out and bought a copy.
What a great investment! My son was so excited as he thumbed through the pages. The section on "girls" was of particular interest to him. He is already able to describe with accuracy the difference between different cloud formations and tell you how many Detroit Tigers were named MVP. He eagerly showed the book to my husband when he got home from work pointing out all the activities he wanted to do together, e.g., build a battery, a tree house, go cart, etc.
My son's interest in the book was not surprising. What was surprising was my husband's interest in the book. My son went with his grandparents for the weekend just after I bought the book and we convinced him to leave it home since he would be busy at the cottage. Much to my surprise and delight, my husband spent the weekend with his nose in the book reading it from cover to cover. He was thrilled with the content stating "I did almost all these things when I was a kid." He is excited about reliving his own childhood and passing some of these tried and true kid activities on with our own children (yes -- girls can get dangerous too!). Thank you Conn and Hal for reminding us what fun being a little dangerous can be.