Get dirty

Posted on August 3, 2005 by Gene

Via Mac comes a link to a blog that says just what I was thinking:

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: We’re raising a bunch of pansy ass kids these days! They get plastic playgrounds with safety mats. Where’s the fun without the tetnus? They don’t have to play “cream the chubby kid” in dodgeball. They have “games” wherein no one wins and no one loses so that no one gets their feelings hurt. Pansies. I had to pick scabs off my chin countless times from crazy games of Red Rover. I rode my big wheel long after the pedals came off and there was nothing but the metal peg left. Is Four Square allowed? We got into some serious ragers over Four Square.

And when the **** did everyone become allergic to peanuts? Was there a great peanut allergy revolution that I missed? You can’t even send cookies or cupcakes to school with kids anymore because there might be peanut traces in them and ohhhhh noooooooooo!!!!!!

Ask any doctor, and you’ll learn what contributes to allergies: lack of exposure. I’ve met parents who never feed their kid anything with peanuts, thinking that they are dangerous somehow. And of course, having never grown up having a single peanut, they either become allergic or assume that they are.
It’s the same with lots of things: kids aren’t allowed to become dirty or messy, their toys are anti-bacterial and they’re trained to continually wash their hands with anti-bacterial soap. They become little sterile creatures living in a bubble… and their bodies can’t handle infection or bacteria because their immune systems have never been exposed to it.
I’m a 38-year-old man. My parents let me play — despite my discomfort with grass — and I got dirty and messy, ate all kinds of food, and had various dogs. We didn’t have anti-bacterial substances other than Pine-sol and bleach, and somehow I managed to grow up healthy with no allergies.
I am convinced that today’s bizarre lurch toward sterility is what’s to blame for the epidemic in child allergies — or, at least, the hysterical assumption that children are allergic. (“I’m allergic!” has for many years been a universal excuse to avoid something.)
Folks, let your kids play outside. Let them make mud pies and try to eat them (unless you live over a Superfund clean up site). Get them a dog or cat, and let their faces be licked.
The world is dirty. Unless you want your kid to live in a bubble, let them be part of the world. It won’t kill them. It’ll make them stronger.