Um, the first thing that Gever Tulley says in this TED Talk is “I don’t have children. I borrow my friend’s children.” Excuse you? So right off the bat, I’m not loving this. But let’s move forward and see what he has to say because I’m all about the idea of “free-range” parenting. I honestly feel like my kids should walk a little ahead of me in life... on the street... because they need their own experience outside of my own.
Okay, so the second thing Gever says is that he runs a tinkering school and that if you send your kids to his tinkering school they will come back scraped, bruised and bloody. The parents are not really laughing.
Yet Gever has a point here when he starts talking about the fear of safety in the United States. He basically says that there are safety warnings for children on just about everything and that it’s creating a culture of fear. Also, it’s not really good life experience for children if they’re raised in bubble, or — LOL — bubble wrap.
“We cut off our children from valuable opportunities for interacting with the world around them," Gever says. "And despite all of our best efforts and intentions, kids are always going to figure out how to do the most dangerous things."
This is where he shows a photo of a little boy jumping off a bunk bed. Nice.
He says that we can raise our kids to be creative, confident and in control of the environment around them and be safe. The first thing he suggests is letting your kid play with fire (or around a fire pit.) Number two: give your kid a pocket knife. In a lot of cultures, he explains, they give toddlers knives. You just have to lay down a couple of simple rules. Three: throw a spear. He says that spear throwing, or throwing things, helps with the frontal lobe of the brain develop. Number five is deconstruct appliances.
Okay, so these “dangerous” things aren’t really all that dangerous. (Except, maybe the knife.)