Dangerous, educational, fun

The dangerous things you should let your children do include whittling, throwing a spear, playing with fire, climbing a tree, cooking with weird ingredients and taking equipment apart. Danger has been defined down. A not-very-brave girl, I did most of these things. (I never threw a spear, but I made bows and arrows out of garden stakes and used them in our games of Pony Express.)

However, I’ve never licked a nine-volt battery.

About Joanne


  1. wahoofive says:

    Try the battery now. You’re not too old.

  2. Richard Aubrey says:

    In all my life, I never ran into a person who’d lost an eye to spears or arrows made from the shrubs in the neighborhood.

  3. As a kid, I tried a chain of paperclips in a wall socket……once (never again!)

    As an adult. I have licked 9V batteries mostly to see if they were dead or not

  4. Kirk Parker says:

    Go ahead with the battery, depending on how worn out your tongue is, you won’t think much of it.

    Really 9V is not that much, try it with a 45v battery if you want a real wakeup call.

  5. I agree that these define dangerous down, but hell, I’d be happy if all the kids did was go out and play in the yard. When I was a young kid, if the sun was up we were outside (except for meals). My mom had an old cowbell mounted on the back porch and we had to be in earshot of that; otherwise no restrictions. By the time I was 12 or so, I was off on my bike wherever I could ride as long as I was home for dinner.

    A wonderful freedom we had, now lost forever.

  6. Bill Leonard says:

    My childhood in semi-rural Des Moines (we lived on a dirt road) included Rob’s experiences. Further:

    Every boy had a pocket knife, so whittling, of course, as well as mumblety-peg and baseball (a common two- or three-blade knife needed; rules are simple if anyone is interested).

    Home-made bows and arrows, the arrows usually quarter-inch dowling or quarter-inch square strips, but always sharpened in a pencil sharpener. Come first snow, we’d walk down the dead corn rows hunting mice or rabbits with our bows and arrows.

    No need for Little League or other organized sports; a bunch of kids would just show up at someone’s vacant lot (not everyone put in a huge garden) and we’d play work-up (any number of kids can play, but at least five or six is best) all day long.

    Army (many of my younger years were during the Korean War and its immediate aftermath) and cowboys and indians also were perennial favorites.

    Fireworks and home-made fireworks were big deals before during and after the July 4th holiday. An older cousin with a ‘way cool ’49 Merc would make a run down across the Missouri border and come back with a trunkload of goodies. Another cousin had a genius for homemade stuff with match heads, black powder when it could be scrounged, and other stuff. Only in my later years did I realize that my dad and my uncle were always quietly behind the scenes, never stopping the fun, but also making sure nothing too unsafe developed with the fireworks.

    All in all, a fabulous childhood! And yes, sadly, danger has been defined down — ‘way down.

  7. Not particularly dangerous, but definitely messy: damming up a small stream with rocks and mud to make a pond. Way beyond fun.