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The Wolf Ate My Checklist

What kind of society could we have if we unleashed our children to play and fall and re-work their environment as the wolves did in Yellowstone? What kind of society will we have if we don’t?

At first glance, the two TED Talks embedded below appear to have very little in common.  However, I see a pattern.  When wolves were returned to Yellowstone and allowed to do “what wolves do” they not only prospered they turned an entire ecosystem around – what was once withering began to thrive. 

I believe that is precisely what Julie Lythcott-Haims is advocating we begin to do with our kids: namely to shed their over-produced and curated checklist–run lives and introduce them “back to the wild” and get them back into a more natural habitat of play, chores, scraped knees, and tough playground lessons.

Of course, my wife and I raised 3 boys and sometimes we got this right and sometimes we got it wrong. My goal is to share this with those of you with younger kids now (or in the future,) so you can get it right more often than we did.

I’d rather you spend your time watching these two great talks than reading more about why I agree, so I will keep today’s blog post brief.  I only ask that you listen to each talk and then ask yourself a few questions:

  • Who am I serving when I serve up the checklist?
  • What kind of society could we have if we unleash our children to play and fall and re-work their environment as the wolves did in Yellowstone? What kind of society will we have if we don’t?
  • How cool is it that the data says chores help make better grown-ups!?
  • What is the greater act of love: freedom to make mistakes or freedom from failure?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, please comment and share.

By J Johnson

I am seeking to discover, find and share salt and light into the world. After growing up in financial poverty, but with a wealth of loving people lifting me up all along the way, I struggled for a good while to "do it all on my own." Until I finally found something indescribable in a mere "about me" section of a blog. Now I have the peace that discovery provides as well as the overwhelming urge to share everything I can with as many as I can. I am now trying to use those life experiences, my formal and informal education and my over 20 years of human resources and leadership experience to have a broader conversation with the world about that something, that Light, and about Love and Leadership...with a dose of Laughter along the way. 4 Ls to live by and to soar by. Four for Soaring.

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