I once read an article about how the increased emphasis on safety in our playgrounds was inadvertently causing more devastating accidents. In a litigious society, we have made it more difficult for children to understand risk and in so doing, necessary learning has been lost.
Children cannot adequately judge what is safe. Never having gotten hurt they attack reality and end up in worse shape than if they had fallen off the monkey bars and learned the consequences of trying to run across the top of them.
That is why I salute the city of Santa Fe. Though most of the marginally dangerous parks have been replaced by lame swing sets with silicon covered, 6-foot chains and bouncy rubber tiling, there is one park that dares to be true.
If you should happen to find yourself here, take a drive down Cordova Road and keep your eyes peeled for the Christ Church (or something like that, I know Christ is in the name somewhere). Behind this church you’ll find the swing set of yore. Tall, high swings that allow you to touch the sky, monkey bars with creaky welds that sag under weight and a 12-foot high slide that sweeps you to the sand below.
I try to stop by at least once or twice a week on my way home from work; do a few pull-ups; and swing away the stress of a busy workday. I know how rare it is to find a park like this in the modern USA and that’s why I try to take advantage of it.
There’s a sign at the front urging you to “use equipment at your own risk.”
I’m going to keep this short, but I advise you to scan your town and look for the creaky old parks and take your children there. My opinion may change when I have children, but for now, blissful in my ignorance, I will continue to enjoy the chains that pinch my fingers and the unreliable welds that could give at any moment.
PS: I think this was the article, check out page 8 – THE DISSOLUTION OF CHILDREN’S OUTDOOR PLAY: CAUSES AND