Before I start let me state in no uncertain terms that this is purely my own musings from memory, and contains not a single shred of well researched evidence on my part.
Yesterday I read an article on the mistakes parents are making that prevent their children from becoming leaders.
One of the areas concerned ‘risk’ and ‘play’. Playing is vital for children to learn many skills, physical, mental and also ethical (according to the article). The physical risks and the consequences of these (usually small) failures teach them that it’s ok to take risks, how to evaluate their potential and deal with the consequences of failure.
All quite good stuff from that research I’m sure.
Then, driving along later into my head popped (of all people) Enid Blyton, or to be more accurate, what I remembered of her books reading them 50 years ago.
Those children (Famous 5, Secret 7 I think I remember the names of the gangs) were always playing outside. Not in some nice safe urban garden, but in the ‘wilds’ of the British countryside, I suspect taken from an era even earlier than my own childhood, spent far from Britain, and where outside the urban areas, the possibilities of encountering some really dangerous snakes was a real possibility.
So they had play, they had co-operation, and as they so often did the work of the police force in deterring crime or solving it, I guess they also had exercised their understanding of ethics in terms of working as that part of civil society who help the authorities to prevent hurt or damage to other people.
Her heroes and heroines were role models, youngsters who could achieve good. So sitting in my car at a traffic light I wondered if the people who did things such as start the Peace Corps or Oxfam had grown up believing they COULD make a difference, just as Blyton’s imaginary children did.