Earning a Broken Arm

I love this old picture of Emily when she was a kid.  We call it her “abused baby” period.  Her parents never abused her of course…she did it all herself.  When she was about 2, she climbed out of her crib and, like Isaac Newton, learned the truth about gravity…it works!  Somehow, she broke her arm.  Babies are supposed to have “green” bones that bend and flex.  I hate to think about how her arm must have twisted to break.  Anyhow, along with the broken arm is the skinned up knee.  This picture captures her childhood through junior high as near as I can tell.


We played pretty rough and had a lot of freedom to explore when we were kids.  I sometimes struggle as a parent to know how much to allow my kids to roam.  Off and on, I have been reading Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder and it makes me think.  Now, ask anyone and they’ll tell you just how rare it is that I think.  But this book has made me wonder if I am giving my kids enough room to roam and explore and understand nature.  The premise of the book is that kids used to be in touch with nature and outside stuff.  Now, in an attempt to shelter and protect our kids, we have removed them from the natural world we (and our parents before us) loved so much.  It’s where we learned teamwork and problem solving and a good bit more about how life works.  So, I don’t know exactly how far to let my kids roam, but I know they need to do so.  They may get bumps and bruises and maybe even a broken arm.  But a broken arm that is well earned is worth the pain I think.

Where I struggle is with all the “big scaries” that exist out there.  I see the sex-offender list and there are bad folks not far, no matter where we may roam.  Still, I think we (meaning I) need to do what I can to let my kids roam and pick up snakes and turtles and catch fish and see the bats fly around in the fields at night.  It’s important and the only way that they can truly appreciate the world around them I think.

My kids may not be able to roam quite like I did (and I am certain I never roamed like my grandparents did…were their parents crazy?!), but I think there is room for them to explore and still be safe.  Who knows, someday they may even earn a broken arm like their Mom…

So, what do you think…do you ever consider the freedom your kids have or what you had when you were a kid?  How do you let kids roam and explore?

12 thoughts on “Earning a Broken Arm

  1. I lived in a small town when I was a kid. My parents were in business and I had a lot of freedom and explored every inch of the town. Never got hurt to bad. Loved snakes, and snails and puppy dog tails. Climbing apple trees and jumping out. Playing ball in the neighbors back yard. Playing cowboys and indians in the cemetary. Went out at sunrise and came home at dark. I really had a wonderful childhood.

  2. My kids definitely don’t enjoy the same freedom as I did growing up. Where our biggest fear was getting caught by the farmer across the road, and having to work off the cost of the corn we destroyed in his field. However, my kids do enjoy more freedom than most. It’s scary to let them go, but it’ll bring a tear to your eye to watch them explore. The other benefit to “letting them go” is they learn to be very self assured and smart decision makers.
    .-= Gizmo´s last blog ..Happy Fall Day! =-.

  3. Having woods right outside our door, the kids get plenty of room to roam but ONLY on our property:) So far, it’s been great, but it also helps that we live in the middle of nowhere…
    .-= Kris Bair´s last blog ..See this wood? =-.

  4. My girls have some freedoms, not as much as I did as a child. I grew up out the in the middle of nowhere; my girls grew up in the city until we moved to the ‘country’ about 7 years ago. We are still on a busy road and they are caught up in schools sports.
    Makes me sad that they did not get to play in the hay fields and pick while black raspberries as I once did.
    .-= Annette´s last blog ..My cell has died =-.

  5. My parents were pretty flexible with us letting us roam as we wished (and we even lived in the most dangerous country of the world at the time – Colombia).

    We were able to encounter nature as well because whenever we were visiting the U.S. we spent lots of time at my grandparents cabin that’s situated on 40 acres. Once we were 10-12 we were able to roam around the property as we pleased.
    .-= Chiot’s Run´s last blog ..Quote of the Day: L.M. Montgomery =-.

  6. I think about my kids and freedom-similar to how you do. I feel it is important to let them roam and explore-and luckily we live in a place where they can. But when it comes to letting them roam in a public place-thats when my protective nature comes out-there is just so many weirdos out there waiting to prey on our kids. So mine roam at home in the woods but not in public places.

    Hope your son is all better!
    .-= tipper´s last blog ..Blind Pig & The Acorn’s Spooky October 1 =-.

  7. That’s one thing my 9-year old has in abundance… living with nature. I’ll let him roam and explore around here all he wants, but not around town or parks by himself. Just a sad fact, and too many kids taken, etc. through the years. He’s an only kid however, and our challenge is finding other kids/activities beyond school for him… But no, I don’t think kids today will have near as much freedom around other people from my perspective…. their paradigm will be different of course. I don’t want him to feel threatened or unsafe, and yet the fine line between that and learning common sense/awareness is part of raising children today in a challenging world.
    .-= Beau´s last blog ..Give a Dog a Hug Day =-.

  8. I have a photo similar….tot with horribly bruised up legs…I grew up “up a holler”..I think you may be familiar, near Malden, ad the head of Hawes Dr. (Hollow on older maps) and the rule was, we could go and do whatever we wanted so long as we could hear mom yell for us when it was time to go home 🙂

  9. We had a lot of freedom too but then, I grew up in the boonies too. It’s hard to know how to get ultimate exposure like I had since we now live in the city. We are always on the hunt to buy land in the country but so much of it is straight up and down so one can’t even walk on it. Anyhow, I think the key is knowing so we’re going to try to get the kids out and exploring…somehow!

  10. I used to be gone most of the day in the summers out on my bike, climbing trees, playing in the creek. The rule was to be home by supper…I was in grade school. We lived out in the country on the outskirts of a town that is just now reaching 3000 inhabitants. Things were different…

    We live on 10 acres, my mom owns the 5 next door…we are at the end of the road and completely fenced so they will have the run of that but no further. The only thing I will be concerned about is the first time they try to ride the camel, and they will, and then they may get their broken arm…or at least a bruised bottom!

    I hate this tightrope we have to maneuver as parents between freedom and safety…
    .-= the inadvertent farmer´s last blog ..The Queen is Delusional… =-.

  11. I think living on a farm certainly gave me more areas for exploration. Lily spent the week at grandmas/grandpas and had a blast. She just loves to get out and see everything outside. I picked her up yesterday and my mom warned her not to touch the electric fence. Well, i wanted her to know what it feels like. I got a sprig of grass and walked up to the fence. I moved my hand closer and closer as she watched. When i started to feel the pop, I reached my other hand to touch her. SNAP! I felt it and she did too. It wasn’t that bad but enough to make her mad. I love to see her reaction to all of this new stuff.

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