Two adventure playgrounds are up and running in Delta, a city of about 100,000 in British Columbia. An appalled dad who visited one expressed his disapproval on Facebook:
“It literally looks like a dump – broken toys, broken two-by-fours,” he says. “It’s just not appropriate. I think children, if they’re given a hammer and a nail, they should be mentored, supervised, and they have to ensure that those children are doing things properly and safely.”
So let's hear it for city spokesman Ken Kuntz who was quoted by CityNews1130 saying:
“All summer long if we’ve only gotten two reports of cuts, that’s pretty insignificant in the scheme of things,” he says. “If you don’t feel comfortable putting your child there, then my suggestion is that you don’t participate in that particular activity.”
What a fantastic response. It's one that could be used in almost any situation when an onlooker disapproves of a parenting decision you've made: "My suggestion is you make a different decision with your own child."
The idea that kids need instruction and oversight every time they encounter anything more challenging than a Hatchimal belies the fact that kids are wired to explore and learn, not to don their goggles and wait for instruction. Besides, there's an attendant on premises in case of actual emergencies.
If you watch the TV report, of course it frames this story as one of potential danger, not one of potential joy or growth, because that's the template the media use: Either a child experiencing a modicum of independence DID get hurt. Or a child experiencing a modicum of independence COULD get hurt. The "could" stories are just as ubiquitous and they hammer home (as it were) the same point: Do you want your child to live till tomorrow? WITHOUT brain damage? Then never let them do anything on their own any place harder than a marshmallow.
Risk risk risk. That 's the obsession of our era. Everything is a huge risk and not worth it.
That's why we say kudos to the city of Delta. Play on.