Salon recently put out a thought-provoking article called “The War on Children’s Playgrounds;” definitely worth a read if you haven’t seen it. The byline was: “By trying to make kids’ spaces safe and risk-free, are we taking all the fun out of growing up?” The article discusses our cultures’ trend toward prioritizing safety above all else, using the lens of playgrounds, and describes the losses our children will ultimately face from this mindset. “What we’re bequeathing our children is a childhood designed by lawyers,” author Lenore Skenazy writes. Too true. We’re also implicitly teaching them that the most important thing in life is staying safe.
The problem is that being safe isn’t the number one goal in life; at least it shouldn’t be if we’re following Jesus. We follow a God who was hated by many when He walked this earth as a man, who was murdered by his enemies, and whose followers often came to similar ends. He was not a man who prioritized earthly safety above all else by any stretch of the imagination. Jesus told his disciples, “‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”
Our culture idolizes health, safety, and longevity of life; this is a flawed viewpoint even from a secular perspective. From the Salon playground article: “‘It’s as if we think that there’s a world in which, if only people did things properly there would be no accidents, ever,’ says Philip Howard, author of Life Without Lawyers.” Howard’s right, and it’s ludicrous. Accidents and injury are as old as the earth and an unavoidable part of life; more than that, they’re part of our inheritance as humans since our first parents fell. They come with living in a sin-stained world. (more…)