A note on “child safety”
My first case for the day was a GYN case. The surgeon came in talking about “my baby did this” and “my baby did that” and “I’m so tired” and how “he kept her up all night.” She went on to talk about how she had spent so much money on “child proofing” her entire house and she was furious because she is “still finding things that her husband clearly had forgotten about when child proofing”. Having raised three male hellions of my own, this doctor was clearly fishing for some sympathy from me. I gave none. First off, I told her that if you are worried about your kids now, just wait until they get to be sixteen and are out all night. That’s when the real worry starts. Also, about the, so called, “child proofing” that’s pure fantasy. When I had a puzzle or one of those Chinese box things that no one could open… well, I would just give it to my three year old. He would not only get into the thing in record time, he’d have that thing completely disassembled down to its smallest component. (All of which were easy choking hazards.) The doctor (and new mother) looked back a little disbelievingly as I went on. When my children were small, I didn’t have any so-called child safety crap in my home. I raised my kids as best as I could, a “free spirit.”
I don’t believe that any of my children were in any way special. They are not some sort of savant. Just average boys… and they all could still get into any “child proof” cabinet in half the time it takes me as a fully grown and fully developed adult. Children are intuitive to these kinds of things… way more than adults. The “child proof” market is just that… a market that is aimed at making a lot of money from nervous parents new with their first child. I can tell you from experience, after your third child, you don’t even lock up the rat poison anymore. I figured that it was a learning experience. My parents were the same way. .. except they started off with the first child (me). My parents would let me stay with my Godfather on occasion when they went out on a date. My Aunt Nancy told me (after I was an adult) that Uncle Lency would see me getting a knife out of the kitchen drawer. Aunt Nancy would start to get up from her recliner to retrieve her knife. Uncle Lency would say, “wait, let’s see what he’s planning to do with it.” She said that I would bring it into the living room and look at them, and then at the electrical wall socket. My Uncle would say, “go ahead, stick it in there. I know you want to… I can see it in your eyes.” Aunt Nancy would scold him, and he would reply, “how else is the boy going to learn if you keep coming to his rescue.” He would go on to say it was the “hot stove” theory to learning. You can tell a kid until you’re blue in the face that the stove is hot, but until he actually touches it, he won’t ever learn about what hot really is… and only then will he make a real effort to never touch it again.
Most kids now a-days with their helicopter moms, are inside playing video games and watched over constantly. They never learn. On the other hand, I was outside, playing. I built ramps to jump my bicycle over the neighbors ditch. I really learned a lot. They were simple things like, how to avoid a Alabama sunburn, to complex things like how to properly engineer a bicycle ramp to clear a ditch without losing most of my skin on the neighbors gravel driveway. My Uncle Lency always said that through hands on experience, was a better way to learn. Yes, I have a few scars to show for my method of education, but I think that I have a real working knowledge and a lot more “horse sense” than most people. I know that, in the end, I was considerably better off than the kids of today with all their “safety equipment.” Thank you Uncle Lency.
Oh well, I guess this is a long winded way of simply saying that kids need to be kids. You can try to protect them, but when you do, you deprive them of a valuable learning potiential. So, no “child safety locks” is the way to go.
The doctor, and new mother seemed to think this over. Maybe she’s pretty smart after all… even for a doctor.