The Art of Roughhousing
I must admit that when this review copy turned up in my mailbox I did a little happy dance. The Art of Roughhousing by Anthony T. DeBenedet, M.D. and Lawrence J. Cohen, PhD, is a manual for joy. There's just no better way to describe it. Chapters are organized by the type of roughhousing, i.e. flight, contact etc. Each delightfully rambunctious maneuver is further categorized by age, difficulty and essential skills.
The authors state this very poignant truth, "What was once a motto of Safety First has evolved into a fretful new motto of Safety Only. Many parents are more frightened by skinned knees and bruised feelings than life's real dangers: stifled creativity and listless apathy. Some schools in the United States are even being built without playgrounds."
This book brought back so many memories of my own fearless childhood...like being dragged around the yard on a bed sheet and holding my dad's arms while climbing to his shoulders then flipping over to land on my feet. Does anyone remember that one?
If there is any doubt that the joy of roughhousing far outweighs the risks - a picture is worth a thousand words...here we are one morning practicing our acrobatic skills in our pajamas...
"Roughhousing activates many different parts of the body and the brain, from the amygdalae, which process emotions, and the cerebellum, which handles complex motor skills, to the prefrontal cortex, which makes high-level judgments. The result is that every roughhousing playtime is beneficial for body, brain as well as the loftiest levels of the human spirit: honor, integrity, morality, kindness and cooperation." ( excerpt from The Art of Roughhousing: Good Old-Fashioned Horseplay and Why Every Kid Needs It)