Two kids slide on playground

Two years ago I wrote about the case of a family, which had to take down a tree house due to the stupidity and intransigence of government. It had breached some guideline of some description. Despite governments running ads extolling children to be active, it appears that whenever there is the slightest hint that the electronic equipment might be replaced by the outdoor variety some official will step in.

Now another council has ordered a cubby house to be taken down.

It apparently contravened some council ordinance and was deemed a non-compliant “structure”. Hello, this is a cubby house not the Empire State Building. The council has received criticism. According to the Cambridge Post, Councilor Zenda Johnson claimed, “ We have been called whinging bureaucrats, narrow minded and pathetic…”

You can form your own opinion as to whether the proverbial cap fits.

A school in Queensland has banned cartwheels and handstands or any type of gymnastic move at school unless supervised by a physical education teacher. Presumably the monkey bars have long ago been dismantled.

A Melbourne school (temporarily at least) banned skipping and playing tag, as the children could not handle losing. Really? How on earth are they ever to learn that the world does not end if you lose a game unless you lose it and are still around an hour later to tell the tale?

There were concerns about children not being resilient enough.   Protecting them from the horrors of being “it” at tag is not going to build resilience. And whether we like it or not, one day we all discover that the world does not owe us a living.

One wonders what might come next? No skipping unless done on soft sand (which might be tricky in itself) and no running at a pace faster than a slow walk!

And just to cap off a surreal period of time (and for observers of these things there have been three consecutive super moons – which is like a full moon on steroids) another Melbourne school cancelled Father’s day, which will be replaced by a “parents” day in October.

Whilst some children do not have fathers in their lives for a variety of reasons there is no child who does not have a biological father. No amount of political correctness changes that and to pretend otherwise, once again, just seeks to prevent children from learning to accept life as it is.

But things are worse in the UK. A family caring for their child had the child seized by state authorities and the parents arrested. A week later with no apology the family was reunited. Government authorities acting in “the child’s best interests” did this. Authorities of the same UK government allowed abuse of 1400 girls to continue for years due to fear of being labeled politically incorrect. The abusers were from a minority group.

As Spiked.com’s legal editor Luke Gittos wrote “… it is too easily assumed that state care is better than parent care.” And “… the rights of parents are often treated as mere legal obstacles to be overcome in the process of intervention”.

He concludes, “We should stop assuming that any act of defiance against state intrusion in favour of parental judgment is an act of neglect”. 

There is a theme running through all the instances described above. What runs through all of these cases is the notion that the nanny state in its various guises knows best.

Let me be crystal clear – it does not!

Parents can and do make mistakes, that’s what makes us human. Mostly we can learn from our mistakes. Deep down virtually all parents want the best for their children. This is a genetic/survival/evolutionary phenomenon. It is stronger then the best of intentions from others.

We have been led to believe that the state knows best.

In reality state intervention is far more likely to be the problem than the solution.