Why the removal of risk-taking is hurting our kids
THE proposed removal of the diving facilities at the Grafton pool triggered some great childhood memories.
While we had a pool in Maclean, it was nothing compared to Grafton’s behemoth so on occasion we’d travel up to enjoy the more exciting facilities including the diving tower, and later, the waterslide.
While not a natural daredevil, the personal challlenge of jumping from the high tower after chickening out a few times and resorting to the dismount of shame back down the ladder, was something to strive for.
After peering over the edge for 15 minutes while other flung themselves off effortlessly nearby, I talked myself over. It may as well been the Effiel Tower from up there, but the sensation of hitting of water and plunging deep into pool’s cavity was a memorable milestone of self-satisfaction.
Adventurous playing, climbing giant trees, exploring drains or fanging down massive hills on your pushbike to see how far you could get up the other side without pedalling, were part and parcel of growing up. I’ve met a few Graftonians who count the time they jumped off the bendy bridge (the footbridge and, madly, at traffic level) as one of their greatest achievements.
The older you get the more you realise how taking those risks, helped to shape you (if it didn’t kill you).
With helicopter parenting and cotton wool environments now the norm, it has removed the decision-making processes and agility children once had open access to. The fate of the diving pool might ultimately be a cost-cutting measure, but it’s removal will also be a metaphor for the times.