Think back to gym class, when you were ten years old: the smell of those red kickballs, the sound of them whirring past your head, and the sting when one of them connected with your body. Ahhhh, good ol’ dodgeball! Now dodgeball may not have been the most fun, and yes some kids would try to throw the ball really hard, but there were rules at my school. The first being, “no aiming at the face/head area,” and um, actually I think that was the only rule. If that rule was broken on purpose, then the thrower would have been punished, but it never seemed to go that far.
Many schools today have actually banned this activity. Yes, you read that correctly … BANNED. In fact, tag has also been banned, because “it creates self-esteem issues among weaker and slower children.” Hide and seek was recently outlawed in some schools due to possible “hidden dangers” a child could encounter while trying to hide. Who comes up with this crap?!! Other schools have removed soccer and touch football from their list of offered activities, because those sports are “in breech of the zero tolerance of their ‘no touch’ rule.” These are games, people!! The kids aren’t being touched inappropriately, they are not being singled out, if anything, they are fitting in better with their peers and getting a great workout, maybe even shedding a couple of pounds.
When it came to dodgeball, I might not have been great at it, but I played it. I didn’t try to sit out, and when I got hit, my parents didn’t try to sue the school. I also didn’t get depressed and require being taken to a psychiatrist. I’m sure somehow, someway, I am a slightly better and emotionally stronger person, because I participated. So I wonder what has changed. Are parents being overprotective of their children? Are schools just afraid of lawsuit-happy parents?
I feel that some parents today pamper their children too much. Some moms and dads don’t want to deal with the hassle of making their children follow rules, or do what should be done. If this is the case, then parents are being lazy! This laziness is making today’s children soft (in more ways than one)! Not to mention unruly and finicky. So when a kid comes home and complains that a gym teacher made him/her actually run and play tag, the parent loses it. They don’t make their child do anything, so why should a gym teacher be allowed?
Children cannot be catered to in this way; it’s making them whiny, lazy, and spoiled! I think that my generation turned out fine. Yes, we played video games, we ate some junk food, but we also got our butts out of the house and played. We roughhoused; we got a little banged-up. When we were at school, we played also! When my daughter was in elementary school, she really didn’t have a recess; her class was made to walk the track after lunch. Woo! That’s fun, that really builds character… Not! That’s why her father and I chased her around the couch when she got home. Maybe even hurled a biscuit or two at her during dinner. She is a well adjusted child because of this- she may flinch every time she see a biscuit- but she’s well adjusted nonetheless.
Bumps, bruises, coming in last, having a ball hurled at your head, getting tagged and being “it” are all a part of growing up… Well, at least they were. I think I’m going to chunk a ball at the next child I see, right at his little whiny head. I’m going to look at his parents and say, “You’re welcome!”, then I’ll run before they can sue.
**Dodgeball image drawn by my daughter.