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Let the children play, freely

(almost certainly, you will be surprised to discover where I took this post’s photos)

Unstructured, unsupervised time for play is one of the most important things we have to give back to kids if we want them to be strong and happy and resilient.

Today many kids are raised like veal.

Both quotations are from The Fragile Generation – an excellent essay in the December 2017 edition of

Co-authors Lenore Skenazy and Jonathan Haidt are American, as are most examples they cite.

It is still hard to imagine any Australian library trying to do what one in Colorado actually did attempt: deny entry to anyone less than 12 years old, unless accompanied by an adult.


Because,  it said, “children may encounter hazards such as stairs, elevators, doors, furniture, electrical equipment, or other library patrons.”

Alas, most other examples cited are all too easy to imagine in today’s Australia.

Read the essay, here

I took this post’s photos in the grounds of a shrine in Tokyo.

The children were not trespassing, nor being “naughty”, nor were any adults anxiously “supervising” them.

Presumably, monks were somewhere present.

However, my beloved was the only other adult I saw in the shrine’s grounds.

If I understood what I was later told, this shrine encourages local children to play in its grounds, each Monday afternoon.

Apparently, it is just one of many Tokyo shrines/temples that offer children this opportunity.


Free play at shrine, Tokyo, 15.05.2017. Photos copyright Doug Spencer.

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  1. Inkku Inkku


  2. P P

    I think this is to do with an aspect of the ‘Continuum Concept’ .. which also cites many aspects of the self confidence that is achieved by small people who are correctly allowed their world on the cliff face of reality.

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