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Riding Without a Helmet: A Child of the Sixties Speaks Out

Back in the “old days,” which, for me, meant being a child in the ‘60’s (Gaaaaaahhhhhh!!!), we didn’t wear helmets. For anything.

Biking without a helmet.

Roller skating without a helmet.

Climbing trees without a helmet.

Jumping off of really high things without a helmet.

In fact not only did we not wear helmets, even professional hockey players didn’t wear helmets.

When we were kids, we left the house in the morning, sometimes came home for lunch, and stayed out until dark. We rode our bikes, and we played dodge ball in the driveway, which, contrary to current definitions, was not for a single family to drive into and park their cars, but rather a communal, street long alley behind our row houses where we could play all day in relative safety unless the cranky old guy who lived down the block came home and threatened to run us all over with his giant Buick unless we moved.

More often than not, we came home with bumps, bruises, mosquito bites welting into the size of summer peaches, and a ring of “jimmys” around our necks (that ring of dirt kids get in the fold of their throats). Bactine spray was the order of the day for every scrape, and the rings around the bathtub were epic. The next day, we went outside and did it all again, bumps, scrapes, and bruises a badge of glory to be proudly displayed to pint-sized admirers.

And somehow, we grew up. It’s a wonder, given that today, we all but wrap our kids in bubble wrap before we let them out the door.

Don’t get me wrong, helmets are important. We need to protect our kids; it’s a different world today. But maybe, at least figuratively, we can let them go without a helmet every once in a while. Bumps, bruises, and scrapes can toughen you up. And in the today’s world, tough is a good thing.

Do you let your kids do things without the bubble wrap sometimes?

Mary Fran Bontempo
is an author, speaker and humorist who teaches women to control their most powerful influence: Self-Talk. Author of The Woman’s Book of Dirty Words, and Not Ready for Granny Panties—The 11 Commandments for Avoiding Granny Panties, Bontempo proves small changes in self-talk yield big life changes, allowing women to be positive, productive and vital in a rapidly changing world. Find Mary Fran at Mary Fran Botempo or on YouTube.

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