I’ve never been one for drawing up bucket lists – those lists of “must-do before I’m 20/30/40/50/I die …”.
I think it has something to do with my innate sense of pessimism, that little devil on my shoulder, which tells me I wouldn’t achieve the goals anyway, so what’s the point? (I always try to over-ride my inherited “glass half empty” stance by punching the little devil in the face and telling it to sling its hook – the optimistic gene from my mum’s side kicks in when it can. Sometimes it even works.)
Nevertheless, I applaud the National Trust today for its fantastic bucket list of 50 things to do before you are 11¾.
Its Elite Rangers have drawn up the mega 50 and it rather harks back to this alleged golden era when children played out from dawn ‘til dusk and got as grubby as hell.
The list echoes the kinds of activities that are outlined in those fabulous books for Daring Girls and Boys (which remain pristine on our book case), cocking a snook at the mollycoddling parenting that we mums and dads are usually accused of.
The National Trust wants us to get our couch potato children off the sofa and prise their hands off their mobile phones and electronic games. Hurrah for that (she says, as her daughter sits watching TV).
I put my hands up here and admit I probably allow them to watch TV and play on the iPod/Wii for longer than is good for them, but after an hour or so I get them to switch off their games and do something else.
Allowing them some sluggish, goggle-eyed brain much time is something else that makes me feel guilty, of course. You have to feel guilt as a parent. However, after all electronics are switched off, you can guarantee that within five minutes, my ten-year-old is complaining that he is bored.
So I was rather heartened to see the National Trust list of 50 things and tick off many of the things on the list – 34, in fact, for my two.
I have ticked off the “watching the sun come up”, although I suspect it was when they were very young and we got up before the dawn chorus (does that count?).
So – 34. Not bad, I don’t think. My son still has a little time to catch up and achieve the 50 (and he’s in the Cubs, so may well do).
My daughter will be late to the party, but that’s OK. I’m not setting a deadline – I’ll just let them enjoy going out and doing some of the things that I used to do when I was young.
Long live a bit of risk, I say!
I’ve highlighted the ones mine have done – how about yours? And what do you think of the list? Would you add anything to it?
The 50 Things to Do Before you’re 11 ¾:
Climb a tree; roll down a really big hill; camp out in the wild; build a den; skim a
stone; run around in the rain; fly a kite; catch a fish with a net; eat an apple straight from a tree; play conkers (without safety goggles, I might add!); throw some snow; hunt for treasure on the beach; make a mud pie; dam a stream; go sledging; bury someone in the sand; set up a snail race; balance on a fallen tree; swing on a rope swing; make a mud slide; eat blackberries growing in the wild; take a look inside a tree; visit an island; feel like you’re flying in the wind; make a grass trumpet; hunt for fossils and bones; watch the sun wake up; climb a huge hill; get behind a waterfall; feed a bird from your hand; hunt for bugs; find some frogspawn; catch a butterfly in a net; track wild animals; discover what’s in a pond; call an owl; check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool; bring up a butterfly; catch a crab; go on a nature walk at night; plant it, grow it, eat it; go wild swimming; go rafting; light a fire without matches; find your way with a map and compass; try bouldering; cook on a campfire; try abseiling; find a geocache; canoe down a river (canal so far for one, but he’s going on an adventure holiday soon with school, so I am ticking this off now).