Let Your Kids Get Boo-Boo’s

Steven Craig
5 min readApr 4, 2024

Let Your Kids Get Boo Boo’s

We all know that cranky, old men have a tendency to bitterly lament the way things aren’t what they used to be, that we might have a slight tendency towards false perceptions of then versus now that overly romanticise the hallmarks of an earlier era. Remembering our past with a wistful nostalgia that vilifies the present, we have a predilection for pining sentimentality. But sometimes us old guys are just plain right. And when it comes to the way we spent our youth as compared to those of modern kids, I will unequivocally state right here and now that we had an infinitely better childhood than they do now.

That’s because we were allowed to be kids, allowed to play with a wild and adventurous soul. We were permitted, nay encouraged, to live with reckless abandon, to live beyond apprehension and fear, if only for a little while. Doubt me? Here is a list of the outrageously stupid shit our parents let us do growing up as kids in the 1970’s, and please feel free to hit me up if any of this is not straight legit, y’all:

Ride in the back seat without seat belts. This, mind you, was from the age of 5 up.

Do belly flops off of high dives.

Go to the park by ourselves.

Walk to school.

Ride our bikes or Big Wheels in the street.

Play on playground equipment that was made up entirely of metal, as if they were just trying to find a way for us to bash our brains in.

And don’t forget that the surface below them was handpicked dirt- if we were lucky. Often, they were pavement or concrete, again as if someone asked what could possibly do the most damage to a falling child.

Ride in the back of pickup trucks.

Run around our neighbourhood until dark every night, entirely devoid of supervision or good guidance.

Drink Alcohol (ok maybe that was just my parents)

In other words, they let us have fun. In my neighbourhood growing up, we lived by a small lake, with something that might be called a tiny beach area. Stretched across with buoys 20 yards or so into the water was a floating 8’x8’ raft for people to sunbathe on during the few warm, sunny days of a summer in Connecticut. The raft was made entirely of hard wood and sharp corners with some artificial grass stretched on top. We, however, used it to play “King of the Raft”, a game that was essentially a Battle Royale where we would Sumo Wrestle each other off of the raft- last man standing wins. Adults and families would watch from the shore as angst-ridden teens dropped each other on their heads in the sometimes accidental tragedies of Roman-Greco contests of bloodsport. Nary a word was said. Even as we had to pull my buddy Kenny back onto the raft howling in agony after a particularly gruesome shoulder injury, adults merely looked on in muted indifference. I guess they just figured we had that shit.

And to tell you the truth, we did. I’m sure Kenny wishes he had genuine medical professionals on the scene for the incident, but we knew how to get him back to shore and deliver him to his house where his mom would find him on the couch when she got home from work. And when crap really hit the fan, we knew to go get an adult, any adult, well, except, of course, drunk Uncle Lou from down the street. We understood how to be self-reliant and resilient. By being forced to take risks and do things on our own, we became more independent beings capable of handling what the big, wide world would throw at us when we got older.

And to be honest, I’m just not sure a lot of kids are getting that today. We line our playgrounds with some kind of foam crap that looks like someone decided to go crazy with a bunch of used yoga mats. We drive them to play dates instead of letting them roam the neighbourhood looking to make new friends amongst the similarly nomadic vagrants of youth. We arrest a mom in Florida for letting her nine year old walk to the park by himself. We remove any potential hazard whatsoever in the never-ending, Quixotic quest of making the world a perfectly safe environment for them. But that’s the problem- it’s not, and we’re not doing them any favours by letting them think it is.

Pain, while generally unpleasant to most of us not on the guest list at Tom Cruise parties, serves an essential function in the moulding of the human understanding. When something hurts, we know to stop doing it. Lesson learned. The same is true for all those injuries and pitfalls we have from being a kid. Those experiences help us make wiser decisions moving forward and to adopt a more risk-adverse position in some calculated scenarios. Likewise, if I am never allowed to venture my way to the grocery store three blocks away from my house, how will I ever acquire the independence needed to become a functioning adult? If I am not allowed to stumble and fall, how will I ever learn to pick myself back up, dust myself off, and move on?

Despite our vain attempts to make it so, the world is not an entirely safe place. Sheltering our children from the inherent dangers of life prevents them from developing the survival strategies and independence they will need to successfully navigate their lives going forward. So let your kids play outside. Let them climb trees and jump off rocky cliffs. And if they survive, know you have done something right by preparing them for the world that awaits them.

Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works. Read his blog TRUTH: In 1000 Words or Less every THURSDAY at www.waitingfortoday.com



Steven Craig

Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY. Read his blog TRUTH: IN 1000 WORDS OR LESS on Thursdays at www.waitingfortoday.com