I had a great read of Gerver Tulleys “Beware Dangerism” and had some good takeaways both as an educator and as a parent.
The first was the ‘battery test’. Both my wife and I can remember ‘testing’ the 9 volt batteries by touching the contact points with our tongues. My kids (and many of my staff) have not done the same – I think this is in part to the popularity of AA batteries – and thought it sounded crazy – similar to Gevers book which found some feared electrocution to death if such a test was done. From a 9 volt battery…..
Likewise Gever points holes in the ‘lawsuit’ mythology surrounding the ‘blame somebody else’ for injuries (at parks, non-baby-proofed houses etc) and how this is connected to society now fearing risk taking.
The fear of risks gets connected to what media has helped portray as what ‘feels like the biggest risks’:
Whereas the list of what actual is hurting and killing children:
Car accidents (yet another benefit to walking to school instead of carpooling)
Homicide (2/3 of time by a parent)
Abuse (2/3 of time by a family member)
Gever makes a strong pint that we (as educators and parents) need to confront our own biases just as kids need to face their own challenges (on their own…)
This book has challenged me as an educator (instructionally ill be pushing my students even more to solve challenges on their own – including open ended science projects) and as a parent working with my wife to ‘let go’ a little more of our own biases (one of which was my wife feeling better about letting our son explore the ‘forest’ behind our house … on his own).
And I do like the first set of Gevers challenges:
Boil water in a paper cup
Dive in a dumpster
Squash pennies on a railroad track
Burn things with a magnifying glass
Spend an hour blindfolded
Climb a tree
Learn to whittle
And of course have a 9 volt battery available…
(Mind you I’m slightly off put by his final sentence after these challenges where he provides a resource ‘on how to approach these projects SAFELY’)