It was like a red rag to a bull.
The city was repaving the country road outside my childhood home and this was too good an opportunity to pass up. So my brother and I raced off to play in the warm and gooey road tar.
We covered ourselves from head to toe and had a blast.
As you can imagine, my mother was angry when she saw us. After tanning our hides, she threw us into the bath and scrubbed us from head to toe.
However, that didn’t deter us because later on we went out and did it all over again. After all, Boys will be boys. I don’t need to draw the picture of what happened next. Let’s just say, for a while I walked with a limp.
You can substitute road tar with mud: kids of today are discouraged from getting dirty. Parents, including myself, are too worried about their kids’ cleanliness or the risk of getting hurt.
This came to a head during my son’s recent soccer season.
Every time it sprinkled or threatened to rain, either the practice sessions or games were cancelled. The powers that be were worried about the fields being trashed or kids hurting themselves.
This thinking is wrong. Back in my day (yes, I’m that old) a little rain or mud would never get in the way of us playing games. And you don’t need me to tell you there is a world of difference between being caked in mud and a slice of mud cake.
Back then kids got wet and muddy and the field may have been left a little worse for wear but we didn’t get hurt, it didn’t matter who won and for us adventures like these were the joy of growing up.
Playing the mud is more than just fun and games. It has also been shown to:
- Reduce allergies and the symptoms of asthma
- Increase gross motor skills, sensory awareness, balance and coordination
- Improve the immune system
- Reduce childhood anxiety and stress
- Help to build creativity
Isn’t that worth getting dirty for?
Parents and administrators next time it rains and the ground is wet, muddy and sticky, don’t discourage the kids from playing in it or worry about your precious fields. Don’t be a stick in the mud.
Let the kids play because they are only young once and it is an important part of their development.