This playground scene is from Pittsburgh’s Beechview neighborhood.
The youngest kids would be/are about 96 today. How many are still with us in Pittsburgh or beyond? I need to visit the Beechview Senior Center sometime soon. Anyone there reading this at the moment, please ask around!
Look at the height of that slide and all the kids scrambling up. And the swing-set in the background….How high is that, and can you imagine jumping from it?
What do you suppose those kids/elders think of the surplus safety in the world they live in today? Where is the upside risk in their lives now? The link above goes to a fine guest post on Green House Project blog by Carmen Bowman and includes a nice summary of the Surplus Safety Symposium that occurred a year ago (Sept 12-13, 2012) in Baltimore.
“We need to let 3-year-olds climb trees and 5-year-olds use knives.”
As the parent of a four year old boy (i.e., a monkey), I’ve been thinking about surplus safety at all moments in the life course. I came across Christine Gross-Loh’s Huff-Post Parents blog post, “Have American Parents Got it All Backwards?” where she describes how negotiating upside risk begins early and builds from there developmentally.
As an element sustaining later life development, upside risk is crucial for well-being.