bike-bell-1401598_640Biking without a helmet.
Roller skating without a helmet.
Jumping off of really high things without a helmet.
Climbing trees without a helmet.

Is anyone sensing a theme?

Okay, I’m older than a lot of moms out there. Much older. As in, I’m a grandmother already older. (Dear God, I still can’t wrap my head around that.)

Back in the “old days,” which, for me, meant being a child in the ‘60’s (Gaaaaaahhhhhh!!!), we didn’t wear helmets. For anything. In fact not only did we not wear helmets, professional hockey players didn’t wear helmets. (See #24.)

I also grew up in Philadelphia, which, contrary to what New Yorkers and people from Jersey think, is a lot tougher. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. Waddaya gonna do bout it?

When we were kids, we left the house in the morning, sometimes came home for lunch, and stayed out until dark. We rode our bikes, and we played dodge ball in the driveway, which, contrary to current definitions, was not for a single family to drive into and park their cars, but rather a communal, street long alley behind our row houses where we could play all day in relative safety unless the cranky old guy who lived down the block came home and threatened to run us all over with his giant Buick unless we moved.

More often than not, we came home with bumps, bruises, mosquito bites welting into the size of summer peaches, and a ring of “jimmys” around our necks. Translation—that ring of dirt kids get in the fold of their throats. Bactine spray was the order of the day for every scrape, and the rings around the bathtub were epic. The next day, we went outside and did it all again, bumps, scrapes and bruises a badge of glory to be proudly displayed to pint-sized admirers.

And somehow, we grew up. It’s a wonder, given that today, we all but wrap our kids in bubble wrap before we let them out the door.

Don’t get me wrong, helmets are important. We need to protect our kids; it’s a different world today. But maybe, at least figuratively, we can let them go without a helmet every once in a while.

Even if you aren’t from Philly, bumps, bruises and scrapes can toughen you up. And in the today’s world, tough is a good thing.