The freedom to play

Funny how things you haven’t thought of for years suddenly come to mind. What triggered my latest flashback was reading about children not having the freedom to do their own thing, to swim in rivers or play on the edge of them with a fishing net trawling for newts and taddies (the newts bit, here). In that regard I was lucky and I’m sure I know why. My parents had been through a war, and waking up alive each morning was probably all they could hope for. If your boy (I don’t want to sound sexist, but it seemed to be only boys) wanted to go off and do his own thing, that was fine. He told you he was going to a friend’s house. From there he went and stood on the banks of a river in spate, wondering if it was worth using his fishing net or if the newts and taddies had already been swept out to sea – like he would be if he got too close to the water… or simply jammed under a bridge and drowned, like a boy later that same day.

I had a friend who stared at me in disbelief when I admitted to him that I had never broken an arm. I was 13 at the time and he had already broken both of his – on separate occasions – and he didn’t play sport. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not advocating a return to all that. But we do need to do something. As a father and grandfather, I’m still not sure what that is. Send your answers on a postcard…

1 Comment

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One response to “The freedom to play

  1. Bows and arrows are always good!
    Rusty Bodkins x

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