You Want My Kids To Do What?


bee_the_builder_cropAs parents, it is up to us to set boundaries for what our children are allowed to do as they progress on their way to maturity.  We don’t let them cross the street by themselves before a certain age, we don’t let them play with matches, and we give them ineffective plastic knives to use on the food we’ve already cut up for them.  Of course, every parent has a different view of what children should be allowed to do at each stage of their life.  Some parents let their kids climb trees, some parents let their kids build ramps for their bikes and skateboards, and then there’s Gever Tulley.

Gever Tulley, a software engineer by trade, would have you let your kids do things such as break glass, play with fire, and put weird things in the microwave.  In fact, he feels so strongly about it that he’s written a book on the subject — 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do) — a follow-up to a TED talk he gave a couple of years ago.  “It’s a guidebook for overprotective parents,” he explains.  “It will help them think more rationally about danger and risk. And it’s also a source book for adventurous parents who are looking for new things to do with their kids.”

Now, if you aren’t comfortable letting your kids do the things he suggests, he’ll happily let them for you.  Tulley runs a summer camp for adventurous kids called the Tinkering School, just south of San Francisco and is opening others in Seattle and Baltimore.  “We’re sort of famous for the roller-coaster we built the first year,” Tulley says. “We used 120 feet of track and on the last day of camp parents and kids rode in it. We have built sailboats, cars, a hang glider.”  What kid wouldn’t want to go to a camp like that?  Of course, the bigger question is what parent would let their kid go to such a camp?  I know I would — would you?

Photo: kakisky