In a recent post on our blog, we wrote about risk.
It was our contention that, in the main, young people aren’t exposed to it enough.
It’s far better, our argument goes, to climb a tree (and risk falling out) than it is to spend days on end glued to a screen, watching the TV, playing video games and becoming ever-more reliant on gadgets.
Society, we said, has become too risk averse and our children are paying for it.
In this belief, it seems, we’re far from alone.
In recent days, we’ve been reading about Gavin Horgan, the headmaster at an independent school in Nottinghamshire, who has spent this month trying to teach the children in his charge about risk.
Echoing our aforementioned blog post, Mr Horgan said children’s lives have become ‘sanitised’ and, despite parental apprehension, he decided to do something about it.
Having organised an expedition to the Arctic Circle, Mr Horgan sent his pupils (aged between 16 and 18) up an unchartered Greenland mountain having flown them there in a submarine-hunting sea plane dating back to the Second World War.
Required to live self-sufficiently, carrying all their equipment and provisions and having been cut off from the outside world, the teenagers have faced considerable dangers (not least the threat of bear attacks).
Clearly, this is an extreme example.
But underpinning it all is an argument that, no matter our means, is relevant to us all.
That children don’t encounter risk these days. That as a direct result, they’re not learning important skills and lessons. That their lives have become sanitised.
That in order to develop, mature and survive, experiences are important. That these experiences are not going to be encountered on the sofa, in their bedrooms or on social media.
Hostages to their handheld devices? Just take a look around . . .
Now, during the summer holidays, is the perfect time to do something about it.
To let them climb a tree. To encourage them to go unplugged. To let them take risks.
Mr Horgan, who has got our utmost respect, told The Telegraph, ‘Children will always find an opportunity to expose themselves to risk, so why not do it on our terms?’
It’s an excellent question and one that we should all be asking this summer.
Let them go. Get them out there. You don’t need to send them to Greenland . . .
Screens off, take a chance, risk and reward.
They’ll thank you in the long run.