Do we really want risk management to determine how we interact?

Australians often have a giggle at the policies, events and the people of the United States. From my perspective some things that occur over there are ridiculous, and I chuckle, more from disbelief than humour.

The risk culture in the US has gotten to the point where some parents are requiring other parents to sign legal waivers of indemnity if they want their children to visit. Parents are being placed in jail and/or cited for child abuse and neglect for letting their children walk to school or go to the park on their own (I’m not talking toddlers, here). Children can no longer enjoy roasting marshmallows or learning how to build campfires at scouts or school camps because many require children to be at least 15m from a campfire on trips.

However, even as we laugh at the inanity of the situation, we are doing the same things here in Australia. Recently, a school in New Jersey, USA banned hugging and other touch between kids, and now we’ve done the same in a Victorian school. Supposedly it is because kids are playing too roughly and children are getting hurt; there were too many school yard accidents.

The older students had a ‘sit-in’ to protest. According to the media, they were reprimanded and informed of appropriate ways to deal with situations. ‘Sit-ins’ and other collective pacifist approaches used for making a strong political point has a long, often respected, and effective history. Frankly, I think the students addressed the silliness of the situation well.

As a nation, society and as individuals, we have a variety of role models to assess and learn from, and innumerable directions we can take to create our future. Why are we choosing to follow in the footsteps of one of the most litigious and paranoid cultures in the world? It can’t be healthy.

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About Julie Rudner

With great excitement for the adventure we were about to go on, my mother would shout out, "We're off to see the Wizard"! It didn't matter if we were going to the shops for milk, the museum or a holiday. My mum focused on the joy of the everyday, knowing that if we engaged with life, we would always find something new and positive. With great animation my dad would explain the workings of things and how to pull things apart, put them back together, and if the situation called for it, make something new. My sister and I were taught to evaluate situations, make our decisions, and reap the consequences (both good and bad). We were encouraged to push our boundaries and not let fear prevent us from pursuing our dreams. Importantly, we learned to pick ourselves up, learn from our 'failures', and use our valuable lessons to build our confidence, independence and strength in ourselves.
This entry was posted in Gaining Perspective, Unruly Regulation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Do we really want risk management to determine how we interact?

  1. agavearts says:

    Yes, I’ve had a friend ask me to sign a medical waver before we could do a playdate where I didn’t stay too.

  2. Julie Rudner says:

    What an absolute shocker! What did you do?

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