I think the following quote from Frank Schaeffer sums up well a position regarding boys as boys and not products to secure, protect, or actualize to support parents’ or “advocates'” ideas of how to handle kids.
I grew up in a fairly self-contained neighborhood set within a huge woods with streams and lakes. All we did was play outside – we were boys being boys. We got hurt. We healed. Our parents’ did not freak out when something happened after boys being boys.
Anyway, this from Frank Schaeffer (Francis Schaeffer’s son) on his experience at an all-boys prep school in England.
“Of course, no one sued anyone when their child had an accident or sliced open his hand with a penknife. We all carried one. It would have been considered bad form to sue. How could a boy build a fort if he wasn’t allowed to climb trees? How could he cut saplings to make bows and arrows if he had no knife? Someone was always getting stitches. We were boys! [emphasis his]
Freedom from litigiousness meant that we were in young male heaven. Who could have ever learned to love life as we did if we had been stuck indoors playing ‘safely’ on video games, plugged in, wired up, and growing obese? Thank God there were no computers! We didn’t play games about reality, we were reality! We built things. We climbed things. We were never indoors if we could help it. There was no tree off limits, no pond too deep, no river too dangerous. Everyone had to learn to swim. And who didn’t know how to climb? And everything we did was dangerous, difficult, and challenging; otherwise, what was the point?
It was virtually impossible to be overweight, or restless, let alone suffer from attention deficit disorder in Great Walstead [School]. We were just too busy being happy, physically exhausted little boys in a secure and predictable environment.” [Frank Schaeffer, Crazy for God, pp185-186]
Yes, I quite agree. We pamper and try to so govern the lives of our children that we disadvantage them developmentally, in my humble opinion. They are so terribly bored and increasingly lack vivid imaginations. They are becoming less ingenious and entrepreneurial. They may have great eye-hand coordination, but they are often hallow. We hamper their potential when we try to so manage their lives that they are never really able to expand their boundaries and stretch their abilities. Yet, Schaeffer’s last sentence is very important, “…in a secure and predictable environment.”