I was talking about my summer camp experience the other day (it’s a story in our upcoming May issue), and how we’d go to a local public school and play dodgeball.  Then, I remembered how our children’s activities are slowly being reduced in the name of “safety.”  I think the game of dodging a ball thrown by an opponent has been banned from schools, and I think from camps unless they had medical professionals on the premises.  Or something like that.  And then this book comes across my desk, The Art of Roughhousing.  It’s written by a medical doctor and a psychologist, who have taken on this touchy subject.  They not only claim that roughhousing makes kids smart, they go so far as to say, “Play — especially active physical play, like roughhousing — makes kids smart, emotionally intelligent, lovable and likable, ethical, physically fit, and joyful.” 

Roughhousing, they write, “activates many different parts of the body and the brain,” and then they go on to mention parts of the brain which are way too complicated for me type.  But to paraphrase, they say, it helps process emotions, builds eye-hand coordination, and can help kids learn to make high-level judgments.  Many parents, they say, especially Dads, put aside their natural tendencies to play rough and tumble with their kids, fearing that they’ll make them “wild, aggressive, and impulsive.” But, not true.  The animal kingdom is actually one of the writers’ biggest sources of information and statisitics, from the monkeys to the lions; they are creatures following their own instincts, without overthinking it.  They (the animals) are also not making new rules based on a few rotten monkeys in their part of the jungle who went too far, or one lion cub bully on the plains who played too mean.  They’d probably just eat them.       

But, overall, I like the book’s tone.  Like my Mom says, “everything in moderation,” OH, and with adult supervision.  TTYL, mj

We get so many interesting and thought-provoking books sent to us that from time to time, I’d like to mention one and then discuss.  Like my very own book club.  Feel free to write me with your suggestions of books that helped you put a hot topic in perspective at editor@excitingread.com.    

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