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we were gifted a trampoline a year ago. for the record, most cool things our kids have can be connected to the generosity of someone who is not their parents. the tramp is a modern-day issue with the high netting all around. for reasons i'll explain in a moment, we recently removed the saftey netting. seeing a tramp without this encasement these days is kinda like spotting a black bear in yellowstone. it just doesn't happen as often as it used to.

since re-clawing the tramp we have begun telling the neighbor kids who routinely come over that they can no longer play on the tramp. when they ask why we say because the netting is down and their parents would probably not approve.

now as for why we took the safety netting down, that is easy. it is because it was blocking the way of the new rope swing we installed just next to the tramp. and yes, while these are two distinct play things, there isn't a soul under twenty-two (and our new super-cool neighbor) that doesn't look at the setup and see the rich possibilities of having a rope swing in that sort of proximity to a trampoline. many see peril, as they should. and many think peril is bad, also as they should. heck, i think peril can be bad but i also believe in the health of balance, thus, a little peril in one's life has its place.

as per usual, none of my positions and points are based on any proven research or rigor-based examinations. they are based on something else entirely: a lot of observation and a little bit of just being an old man. this is what i know--when you have no skin in the game your mind works differently than if you have something to lose. it works with less vigor, less attentiveness. sprinkle a little interest, danger or potential harm into a situation, you earn the mind's attention (this is the magic of fantasy football btw). get the right amount of balance between the fun and the peril and you create a situation rife for growth. a person will then push themselves to do something because that something looks fun, but they don't want to get hurt so they will proceed with caution. as their ability grows, so does their confidence in their gains. these gains will be visible, palpable. and when these beakers of disparate, near opposite properties (e.g. fun and peril) are combined, one of the by-products is growth and accomplishment and satisfaction and where you find those three qualities, you find pride and contentment and smiles.

so that is why we took the netting down from our tramp and why since doing so we have been hearing squeals of delight from our back yard again and as flushed children come in the back door we hear them re-living their brushes with danger in animated, and sometimes exaggerated, retellings of experiences had twenty feet from our back door.

and just when you might be thinking you're getting some tall tales, anthony will pull a shirt off for bed and you'll see the bruises and scrapes of said experiences on his body. and if you ask him about them he'll crane his neck to see the mark and say, "yeah that happened when i crashed into the tree" as casually as one might say they're headed to the store because we ran out of milk. and yes, admittedly, these mars to his body might keep him from running for miss america one day but they should prove helpful in just about any other pursuit he may embark on.




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