It has been reported that a group of young girls in Newcastle decided to spend their Easter holidays getting muddy in the great outdoors by building a den in the woods. And was the result an impressive hand-crafted hideaway, invented and conjured up by some imaginative children getting back to basics and at-one with nature, learning about the art of building something, rather than looking and a screen and eating sweets all day?
No. The result was being reported to the police for anti-social behaviour. Apparently some dog walkers were so insulted to see young ones enjoying themselves outside on public land doing no harm that they felt the need to complain about teenagers ‘dragging wood into the woods’.
Did the police roll their eyes at these reports? No. An officer was sent to move them on.
Now it’s not uncommon for us to get riled by world-gone-mad stories, but I found this one particularly sad. While countless complaints are made about children sitting indoors getting obese and only communicating over social media, losing the ability to actually ‘play’ anymore, here we are with a story of how it’s impossible to do the things children used to in the name of fun and learning.
Over-zealous and out-of-touch moaners ought to get themselves building a den with some friends to see exactly what they just put a stop to. They put a fire out – a fire that is actually the delight and achievement of doing something for fun, in a team, creating a place of your own – that still thankfully burns within youngsters today.