A Difference of Opinion

Father whose son has broken his arm on the monkey bars: "That's a character-building experience, boy. Carry on like this, and in a few short years you'll be fit to join the cavalry."

Father whose daughter has done same: "Why do these monstrous monkey bars still exist in our civilized country?"

Well, maybe they should be marked "Boys Only."

On the other hand, by kindergarten I had my boy on horseback -- and that can break your neck. I haven't had a daughter, and maybe I'd feel differently about it, but I suspect I'd have had her on horseback by that age also. I could be wrong, but girls like horses. I doubt I'd have had the heart to keep her from them. Nor did Rhett Butler, I suppose, who lost a daughter just so.


Miss Ladybug said...

When I was a girl, I would have given just about anything to have a horse. Until I was in my early 20s, I had to settle for the pony rides at the German fests. Then, I had the opportunity to take riding lessons (hunter/jumper) at a stable in NW Austin. I had to stop riding when I moved away to Arkansas and I haven't really been able to take it back up since.

Texan99 said...

Marking the monkey bars for boys only? Why take dad's yellow belly out on his daughter? Not to mention all the other girls, some of whom may have been luckier in their parents.

Over-protective dad can keep his little princess off the bars if he thinks he's up to the task, but he's setting himself up for disappointment one day. She's not going to stay on his pedestal forever.

Grim said...

Still, that's how Bonnie died, Tex. You and I killed her. We let her jump her pony.

bthun said...

"I haven't had a daughter, and maybe I'd feel differently about it, but I suspect I'd have had her on horseback by that age also."

If you are so blessed, I'd bet you and she will settle for nothing less.

I'd note that my two girls were every bit as adventurous and tough as little boys, initially...

Then, round about their mid-teens IIRC, their interests began to include boys. At that time the girls decided to behave more like young ladies and not intimidate the boys with tales of their childhood feats of dering-do.

Telling those tales to the young men was my job. One I often performed while cleaning one of our firearms and going over the code of conduct, schedules, how folks have been known to disappear in the Smokies, etc.

Phew. Never thought I'd live through it.

Texan99 said...

Yeah, I never liked Bonnie that much. :-)

Grim said...

Well, I did. But it's a good point. The strong die in courage, and the weak in weakness. It may not be young or old, but virtue or vice, by which we are judged at the last.

By which standard I can think of a 14-year-old girl from Pakistan who stands in better stead, should she die, than I do myself. I have not turned down many adventures, but by fortune she has had greater enemies and more terrible adventures than have come to me. Good luck to her! She is my sister, and her enemies are my enemies.

douglas said...

Having a daughter (now 7) who is certain she can keep up with her 10 year old brother and his friends, and who despite being quite a princess, has often led the way to slug and bug hunting, and other adventures, I can say with conviction that any father who'd raise his daughter cocooned in false security is a fool. What they need is the real security of a loving father whose concern is to protect them from evils, not injury. Fortunately, at the end of the article he got it, and hopefully gets the message across to his readers as well.

Also, and we wonder why kids are obese and out of shape?

Speaking of joining the cavalry...

Joseph W. said...

Given the links Grim and T99 have been giving us here lately - they should both like this one.

Texan99 said...

Last year some old friends from our commune days lost their daughter in her late 20s to cystic fibrosis. Of course they'd known right from the start this was likely to happen, but they never coddled her or held her back. She went away to school and got a graduate degree.

Even at the end, when she was unconscious, the doctors asked if her parents wanted to let her slip away, or if they thought she'd prefer to be awake, even though it probably would be excruciating. Her father had them let up on the sedatives just enough that she could communicate with him by yes-no code: She chose to be awake at the end. That took incredible courage not only on her part but on his, to leave the choice in her hands. That's a father. He never let go, and he always respected her.

Grim said...


It's hard not to like some of those old Civil War tunes, isn't it?

E Hines said...

...a loving father whose concern is to protect them from evils....

We can't protect them from that, either; only teach them to recognize and to deal with them. Especially after we're gone, and our only means of support is the lessons we've taught.

Eric Hines

Grim said...


It must be hard to ride that road. My respects, and condolences, to your friends.

Anonymous said...

Monkey bars? Heck, I clambered up every tree that I could get my little paws on. Falling out of a 50' pine would have done a lot more damage than just breaking my arm, I suspect. However, I didn't start breaking bones until I was 21+ - mop handle (ribs), curb in poor shoes (foot), horse problem (other ribs), and an airplane-induced concussion (secret sign of a Cessna driver).


Grim said...

How do you break your ribs on a mop handle?

Texan99 said...

But this Old Civil War Tune is the Bonnie Dundee, right?

Grim said...

Of course. The Appalachian South was largely settled by Scots and borderers. Furthermore, there's a reason that it was long a commonplace among historians -- Teddy Roosevelt does it in his history of early America -- to say that the North was settled by Roundheads, and the South by Cavaliers.

Anonymous said...

When I was a little girl, they made us wear skirts to school most days, so I wasn't allowed to play on the monkey bars unless there was snow and ice on the ground.


But my daddy still has the swing set he built for us, where I learned to hang upside down. It used to be a lot bigger.


Grim said...

I should probably mention that the tree right outside my back door has a swinging and climbing rope on it, and on my front porch I have hung a bar for pull-ups, as well as for hanging from sometimes.

It's not just boys and girls who enjoy that kind of thing, you know.

Bob said...

My daughter cracked her head on monkey bars plenty when she was young. Today, she's a fine internist.

I think it would be absolutely EVIL to keep a child away from horses.

Just saying.

Joseph W. said...

Texan - yes. I'm told that "I'm a Good Old Rebel" was "Joe Bowers," and "The Bonnie Blue Flag" started life as this jolly tune.

DL Sly said...

The Powerwheel the VES had a young'un was a John Deere pickup complete with BB gun rack on the back. She loved driving that thing -- in forward. Reverse....well, that was for *other* people to use. She'd just lift the front end and drag it where she needed so she could get back in drive -- forward.

As for the tale of the tape for injuries (to date):
Four sprained ankles - stairs, PE, etc.
One separated ankle - fell down stairs
One evulsion fracture - playing street football
One dislocated shoulder - fell out of a tree
One broken collarbone - fell out of a chair
Broken wrist - applied wrong brake when landing a bike jump
Broken thumb and wrist - dodgeball in PE

And, quite frankly, that's just in the last 8 yrs. There are times when I'm not sure a boy would be any more injured or active than the VES.

Grim said...

Well, actually, it is true that girls suffer injuries at a much higher rate than boys do. So there is a price to be paid for all that activity in a young lady.

Here's a book by a guy who is trying to help girls minimize that to the greatest possible degree, through smart training that maximizes their resistance to injury.

William said...

My job isn't to keep them, boys or girl, from getting hurt. It's to keep them from getting permanently broken if possible and to keep them from getting hurt without learning from it. Also, to teach them how to deal with what has happened and how to way the cost/benefit of the activity for future use.

William sends.

DL Sly said...

Thanks for the book recommendation, Grim. It looks fascinating. We've tried to encourage her to be active, and she had the great fortune to take ballet and tap lessons early in her life - which gave her a great muscle foundation in her legs and stomach. Then she took to swimming competitively year-round in SoCal. Most of her injuries have been due to ordinary reasons like growing too damn fast for her feet to keep up (we tried the rock on her head....didn't work 0>;~}), and just a *liiiiitttlle bit* of a competitive streak.

bthun said...

"Also, and we wonder why kids are obese and out of shape?"

Oh, I don't think all us have been mystified...

"We can't protect them from that, either; only teach them to recognize and to deal with them. Especially after we're gone, and our only means of support is the lessons we've taught."

Thumbs up Mr. Hines.

bthun said...

"But my daddy still has the swing set he built for us, where I learned to hang upside down. It used to be a lot bigger."

When mine were little I built this playset for the young'uns. Behind the playhouse on the right side is/was a eight foot long, six foot high set of bars for swinging/hanging/sitting upon. Think of it as a horizontal ladder for testing young muscles.

A fireman's pole to the right of the playhouse facilitated rapid egress from the playhouse while a knotted rope allowed the little monkeys to use their arms and legs to climb back up into the playhouse.

That playset, and later the pool, drew kids from far and wide. One day the wife asked one wee stranger who he was and what he was doing behind our house? He replied that he was visiting the playground! And his mom said he could! So there... Heh.

DL Sly said...

The first thing I did when we closed on our first our first house in NC was hang a basketball hoop above the garage and paint a court on the driveway. In Duke and UNC territory, no less. We had kids showing up to play constantly. The neighbor kids made sure every newbie knew the rules of the Dark Side:
1) You better ask permission to play before picking up a ball. Period.
2) No trash talking. If you're that good, prove it.
3) Don't leave Ms. Sly open on the outside.....cuz "it ain't her court now, izzit!?"

DL Sly said...

Obviously that's not supposed to be "our first our first".
I blame it on the over-application of *Focusing Fuel* combined with the brain-drain that occurs when one watches a liberlly moderated Presidential debate and the little glitch that the comment box seems to have developed lately when one is previewing comments aforehand. For some reason, one now has to scroll side to side as the preview comments are no longer confined to the actual window everything else is apportioned into - and the window won't resize. Which, is very strange, given that it all fits just fine once the comment is posted.
I figure it's just Grim messin' with us - or me, if such is a singular anomolie.

bthun said...

Huh? Oh yeah...

Focus juice, progressives yammering on, in public, unteathered to this dimension, and me trying to hit an iddy biddy comment box with naught but an iddy biddy android keyboard to boot!

Yep DL, I feel your pain. Which indicates I'd better add some more Jack D. to this glass of water. =;-}

Anonymous said...

Grim, I was washing an airplane and had left the mop and squeegie beside the floor drain for quick access when I finished. The office phone rang and I had to answer it, so I rolled off the creeper (was under the plane) and ran for the phone, slipped on the wet, soapy polished concrete floor and landed on the mop. The answering machine caught the phone and I got to "enjoy" two broken and three cracked ribs. A few days later I came down with whooping cough, which made the experience even more fun. It was not my month.


RonF said...

My daughter stepped onto a tennis court for the first time when she was 3 (my wife worked there and used the babysitter as on-site daycare). She fell in love with athletics. All kinds. Especially those with contact. She never broke her arm, but as a softball catcher she broke another girl's arm who had the temerity to attempt to knock her down in an effort to score from 3rd on a liner to right. She fell in love with ice hockey for the same reason - if she didn't have a penalty by the 3rd period, she'd go get one. She also made the best tackle I ever saw on a basketball court. Loose ball, opponent girl bent over to pick it up, my daughter dove flat on the floor for it, got the ball and her momentum took her right through the other girl's legs and dumped her over. The ref ate his whistle and threw his hands out to the sides in the universal "play on" signal over the vocal protestations of the opposing coach.

Then there was the time she was catching on the Freshmen team and a girl tried to score on her. The throw was late, the runner was just passing her so she lunged with the ball behind her at the girl without looking. Caught the runner right where the jaw comes up under the left ear, knocked her flat. She still hasn't touched the plate. She was up with the varsity soon thereafter.

Mom was fine with all this, BTW.

douglas said...

"We can't protect them from that, either; only teach them to recognize and to deal with them. Especially after we're gone, and our only means of support is the lessons we've taught."

Indeed, I was thinking of he here and now (for me- she's 7), but to the end you indicate, absolutely.