helicopter waiver

Somewhere at the crossroads of Ridiculous Road and Disappointing Boulevard is a school that recently sent home a note for parents, warning them, among other things, that their children might touch mud.

A common criticism from parents these days is that schools have become too soft. Of course, a common criticism from schools these days is that parents have become too litigious. This is the worst standoff ever.

Do schools need to warn parents that their kids might touch mud, rain, plants and trees at school? Holy handgrenades, have we come to this?

Here’s the note, posted last week to Reddit by user Miss_Interociter:

helicopter waiver

Hold up (wait a minute)! Let me get this straight here. The school actually felt like it had to warn parents that their kids would be in contact with trees and plants? And they had to remind parents that, since there’s a stream that borders one side of the school property, kids might actually come into contact with nature’s elements?

Okay, so I’d understand if – and only if – the school had sent a note saying “look, there’s a stream bordering the school, as you know. If your children are out there during class time or recess and someone goes in, we’ll do everything in our power to save them, but if they’re out on their own, they’re on their own.”

But this note is quite literally giving a head’s up that kids’ shoes are going to get wet.

Look, my son goes to a preschool without a stream bordering it and comes home with wet shoes, muddy sweatshirts and leaves in his underwear. That’s life.

A couple of months ago, a preschool banned superhero play (thankfully, not my child’s). What direction are we headed here with schools? Are schools so terrified of the children and parents that we’ve got to ban all imaginative play and warn parents that kids at school might touch a tree?

People, can we stop being so hard on schools and soft on our kids? We’ve made our kids into the Vera Wang china that I got as a wedding gift: it’s beautiful, it was a precious and expensive gift, and I’m afraid beyond hope to use it.

We’ve made our children into gold-trimmed, porcelain saucers; we want to lock them away in a protective case, fawn over them as we snap photo after photo of them for the gallery, but then we freak out and start suing people if they ever have to interact with dirt, kids, books, history or water.

hamster-ball schoolHere’s how soft we’ve become: we actually have to remind ourselves as parents to let our kids fail. No kidding schools have to send notes warning parents that they’ll interact with mud.

By the time my son is in high school (yikes, that’ll be in the 2020’s!), kids are going to just go to school in those giant hamster balls so they don’t have to come into contact with anything.

“Now, you know,” I warned my wife three Thanksgivings ago, as I carefully set down my fork (not on the gold rim of the plate but tines down toward the middle), “the cranberry sauce might stain the Vera Wang.” I haven’t eaten off that china since.

As for my son, he comes home from school so filthy sometimes that we have to make him walk into the garage and take off most of his clothes before coming into the house. He’s a kid. He’s learning about life by putting his hands and feet (and sometimes his face) through it. All I can do as his father is smile and give the kid a cookie.

Unless, of course, you’re tellin’ me that’s bad for him too now. OH SH*T!