The sense of children running wild

Red wrecks, burning barns with horses, conkers, brambles, rumoured pools of quicksand with makeshift planks, spies and tag and dare and hide and seek.  I remember. And now a parent, as my children move beyond infancy I let them go, off with friends, racing with the air on their faces on the green, near the secret, fenced in castle through the trees, into corners, alongside walls creeping, playing, all adventure, my heart beats along with theirs as I have a sense of them running wild as I did once too. And then they return safe and sound, their bright, animated voices in the driveway.

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5 comments

  1. You’ll laugh Alison – I didn’t know what conkers were – had to look it up! My grandchildren are more restricted than their parents were. Our American society seems to pose (imagined?) dangers around every corner. Your children are lucky to revel in freedom.

    1. Thanks everyone for the comments. Here in Ireland we have also become much more danger conscious. My husband grew up in this town when it’s outskirts were mostly undeveloped and had many adventures. Now some of the places are, like the castle, fenced in to protect our children from both perceived and real dangers. I grew up in the countryside where we could roam quite freely. While now being a parent and aware of the possible dangers including traffic, I also want that sense of autonomy and adventure for them and the chance for them to learn for themselves about risk taking and safety. Sometimes we have to let go a little more than we feel comfortable with just so they can be themselves. Funny about the conkers, so much a part of our landscape, hard to believe they are not universally known!

  2. Hi Alison
    Love your post, great description of the landscape of a child wanderings.
    I empathise so much with your sense of treading a thin line when it comes to giving your children freedom. You do really feel that tug of anxiety as they strain at the boundaries to break free and also feel the desire to allow them experience the joy of running and exploring, just as you could as a child, despite the nowadays perceived (and very real) risks. There’s nothing to beat that moment though, when they arrive back to you safe and sound, smiling and elated, after their “adventure.”
    Mari

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