Call me a rebel, but I let my kids ride their bikes without helmets. I let them walk barefoot through grass where (gasp!) there *might* be snakes (hello…there are snakes everywhere in Texas). I let them have trans fats like Oreos and Ding Dongs every once in a while. On occasion, I even let them drink a coke. That’s right, a real coke.

I read something this morning that got me to thinking. Paula Spencer of Newsweek wrote an enlightening article about how “We Protect Our Kids from Everything But Fear.”

I don’t know about you, but I want my kids to grow up experiencing life. How sad is it that some parents are so overly protective of their kids that their kids will NEVER really fully experience what it’s like to be a kid? Take a moment and think back to some of the things you were allowed to do as a kid…for me, it was the little things that made life fun. Plus, I learned some important lessons.

Things like (gasp!) riding in the car with the windows open and my arm waving wilding in the breeze…the force of the wind pushing my arm back and forth…felt like I was FLYING and it taught me about aerodynamics. Drinking a bottled Coke after dumping an entire bag of Planter’s peanuts in the bottom of it. Salt and caffiene…what a combination…taught me chemistry — the mixing of some compounds was a GOOD thing. Swimming in one of the many “creeks” that ran through our South Texas farm…keeping an eye out for snakes improved my reasoning/thinking skills (not to mention coordination) — was that a snake or a stick over there on the bank and did I really want to get close enough to find out?

My biggest fear for my kids is that I’m still not letting them live their lives to the fullest…that they aren’t experiencing enough of the things that will enrich their early years and give them the kind of memories that will last a lifetime.
You can only go on so many vacations and to so many museums and read so many books…those are all great things, but they do not make up for LIVING life full speed ahead. I read a great quote over at Shannon’s blog that Peach left:

“Life is not a journey to the grave with
the intention of arriving safely
in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside,
totally worn out & proclaiming
“Wow, What a Ride!” Author unknown

As of today, I’m officially adopting it for our family, and especially for my kids.

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9 Comments on Life…what a ride!

  1. kim199173
    March 31, 2007 at 12:17 pm (10 years ago)

    I totally know what you mean! Instead of sheltering my kids from bad experiences, I try to teach my kids what to do if something were to happen. For instance, instead of keeping them in the yard, away from the snake infested woods behind our house, I explain to them what to do if they come up on a snake.

    Trust me! I am a nervous wreck the whole time, but my kids learned how to build a tree house by themselves and know where to find the best honeysuckles!

  2. Me
    March 31, 2007 at 5:37 pm (10 years ago)

    Very enlightening! Thanks for the article and I love that quote as well.

  3. Melissa R. Garrett
    March 31, 2007 at 5:45 pm (10 years ago)

    Hip hip hooray! I like your style 😉

  4. Melissa
    March 31, 2007 at 7:36 pm (10 years ago)

    Very well said Karen! You always seem to write (very well) what I am thinking. I too want my kids to experience life and not just watch it from the outside. Okay so I do make my son use a helmet with his bike, but other than that we are barefoot from the first day fo summer vacation to the last, we all ride motorcycles including my 2 1/2 year old, go swimming in the ocean, enjoy amusement parks together, and just love to have good times. My feeling is that one day you are going to die and only God knows that day so since He already has the plan you may as well go out and LIVE!!! So who’s up to teaching the kids how to throw knives properly…J/K!!!
    Mel

  5. Tammy
    April 1, 2007 at 8:58 am (10 years ago)

    Visiting again…I had bookmarked you during the ulitmate blog party!

    I grew up with overprotective parents and definitely am one, myself…but not that I truly want to be! Great food for thought…I need to have a little of this attitude rub off on me, that’s for sure!

    Blessings!

  6. Welcome to the Zoo!
    April 1, 2007 at 9:15 pm (10 years ago)

    Karen, you hit the head on the nail with this one!! I too believe kids need to be free to see what life is all about and to live life to it fullest within reason of course~ You wrote this beautifully!!! But then again you do have a way with words…

    By the way I love, love your scrapbooking pages!! They are beautiful and what a talent you have for it~

    Lisa

  7. Rachel Whetzel
    April 2, 2007 at 12:39 pm (10 years ago)

    You really should read Protecting the Gift! It fits RIGHT in with all you’ve said so well here!
    ~rachel

  8. Jenny
    April 2, 2007 at 12:49 pm (10 years ago)

    I just LOVE everything you put so beautifully into words! I wish you lived closer- our kids could go out & play in the woods behind my house. Man, they just love to play back there!

  9. Karen
    April 4, 2007 at 6:37 pm (10 years ago)

    Amen– from a fellow mom who also has helmet-less kids.

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