When did having fun become the raison d'etre for eschewing common sense, safety and responsibility? Have Americans always been such hedonistic assholes? Why am I suddenly sounding like a parent? I'll tell you why: today I attended a presentation on ATV injuries in children, and my response to that presentation is, "holy shit."
What kind of imbecile would reassure their intubated child, struggling on life support in the ICU, that he shouldn't worry, they'll replace his Artic Cat when he gets out of the hospital? And why do even journalists covering events such as this still, after visiting our Center to learn about the risks of ATV use by children and the need for helmet use if one persists in being foolish enough to allow their children to ride, still color their stories with their own personal beliefs that helmets impede the fun? Why does any parent put their own unfulfilled youthful dreams before their own child's well-being? Just because your parents didn't allow you to ride in the abandoned quarry on Toothless Joe's four-wheeler didn't mean that you should allow YOUR children to do so, and merely because ATV parks with jumps and water hazards exist, that is no reason to frequent them. Contrary to a widely-held belief, one does not have a child so one can relieve ones childhood, this time getting to do everything one didn't get to do the first time.
I know that parents have an extremely difficult task in determining what amount of risk-taking behavior is acceptible, and that a certain element of danger can prepare a child for facing real trials later in life. However, this does not mean that activities that are categorically hazardous and almost guaranteed to cause bodily harm should be encouraged merely because allowing them will make one "cool".
And right now I'm realizing that I'm making a mental list of non-allowable activities for our own child that will make me the most reviled parent around. But at least my kid will live to twelve.