Jim Gray: Liberty Includes Falling Down and Getting Back Up

Back when I was growing up, our family rule was for my sister and me to be home in time for dinner. Otherwise we were mostly on our own. So we learned to make forts, climb trees, invent games and wrestle with our friends, all the while learning through our experiences to control and reduce risks in whatever we happened to be doing.

Yes, sometimes we fell down, but we learned from our missteps to be more careful the next time. In fact, starting with kindergarten, I was walking about a mile to school along a busy street either with others or by myself. I was simply told to be careful and always to cross the busy street with the crossing guard. And through all of these activities, all of us lived to tell about them!

Today we have gotten away from that approach. Our children mostly play only in organized sports practices or games. They are “safely” driven everywhere and are only allowed to play on monkey bars if there is foam rubber padding on the ground beneath them. And it is virtually considered to be child abuse to let children walk to school by themselves!

That is a shame. Statistics show it is no less safe today for children to walk to school than it was when I was growing up. Furthermore, losing this Liberty to fall down has resulted in fewer young people realistically being able to calculate risks in the business world or elsewhere in their lives.

As a further shame, this has also been accompanied by a rise in concern that our children – even those who are nearly adults in college – could be injured by “micro-aggressions.” We must be detect “trigger warnings” so we can protect these “snowflake” children from melting into a puddle if anything goes wrong. We must create “safe places” to which they can retreat from the real world.

All the worry in the world doesn’t prevent death, it prevents life.

So let’s ease away from some of the protections, and let our children learn to grow up in Liberty. It’s a better way, more fun and also a better long-term result.

(Photo of children playing by Max Pixel used with permission.)

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Judge James P. Gray (Ret.) was a judge on the Superior Court of Orange County, California for 25 years, and was the running mate of Gary Johnson in the 2012 presidential contest, as well as the Libertarian Party's 2004 candidate for the United States Senate in California. The author of multiple books and a play, he is a critic of current American drug laws.

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