Recently, as part of my work on a steering committee where we allocate funding to parent-child programming, we had the opportunity to see the documentary Lost Adventures of Childhood. It was something I’ve been thinking a lot about since and have referred to in conversation with friends and family. By citing situations close to home and across the pond, producer Scott Harper brings to light the costs associated with raising children in a fearful and highly controlled environment.
This film exposes what many of us intuitively know – free play and free time away from parents’ watchful eyes creates opportunity for learning and growth in ways that structure and supervision does not. We all likely have memories of our own freedom during our growing up years when we could walk or bike to our destination or we lost ourselves for hours in imaginative play with our friends.
One of the amazing stories is about a school where the typical playground fights were regularly occurring and most kids were bored during recess. Changes were made to the actual playground area with boxes, scarves and chalk being brought in – within a short amount of time, students were interacting positively with each other and enjoying the opportunity to create and imagine together. The footage is quite remarkable.
Another story revolves around a highly scheduled child and their telling of the hectic pace of their lives. This may have been a more extreme scenario than the average child but it was representative of what many youth experience. Experts were then interviewed as to the negative effects this type of parenting has on children. The documentary is a combination of anecdotes and expert opinion which lends to its credibility. Check it out if you are wondering about your own parenting style or would like validation of the choices you have made that seem to be countercultural. It would be great to see more kids enjoying adventures regularly again!
As a professional home economist, Lavonne Kroeker has worked in a wide variety of settings – an adult learning centre, child welfare, private industry and since 2007, as a Rural Leadership Specialist with Mantioba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. Her job involves “creating leaders” in rural communities – whether its supporting volunteer 4-H leaders, chairing a Safety Day committee, developing programming for women in business or organizing training for farm women, there is never a dull day! Besides her day job, Lavonne enjoys volleyball, biking, creative pursuits and almost any outdoor activity!