Climbing a tree is one of those childhood activities that has a place all over the world. No matter how old we get, we all remember the feeling of accomplishment as we navigated each limb to find a suitable perch. Some of us even had broken bones to prove it.
Our news feeds are filled daily with calls to get our children outside and away from television and computer screens to play as we did.
Well one US mum has proudly stood on her soapbox – her words – this week to defend her children’s right to climb trees after a teacher reprimanded them for doing so, even though it was out of school hours.
Julie Holcombe from Denver went so far as to write her children a permission slip to climb trees “whenever and wherever they can, for as long as they both shall live”.
“My children have permission to climb any tree they so desire,” she writes in the note.
“I can think of few things better than knowing they are spending their time playing outside in the fresh air, taking advantage of the beautiful playground that nature can provide, getting exercise, using their imagination, chatting with their squad of friends, all while climbing a tree.”
Her permission slip slammed the teacher’s fears that the school would be sued if her children were hurt as “sad and ridiculous”.
“Sad because your first instinct wasn’t to simply feel grateful that you got to witness the joyfulness that comes from such an innocent youthful activity, and ridiculous because it must mean we’ve become such a litigious society that you let your actions be driven by the slim possibility of a negative outcome.”
Julie posted her note to the teacher to her Facebook page and was met with overwhelming support.
Lisa Huff-Morales wrote: “Wow! I do love how you addressed the situation though. That is the problem these days that people just can’t let their kids be kids. We used to climb fences, trees and anything else we could when we were younger.”
Shannon Masino-Phillips describes Julie as “awesome” while Audrey Whaley Abernathy declares she is her “hero”.
Julie has since posted an update after her children, this time armed with her note, were again approached by the same teacher.
“I was contacted by the school district to let me know that whoever approached the kids had no right to reprimand them, did not represent the school district, nor were his actions reflective of any directive from the district,” she writes.
“The teacher has now been told he is not to approach the kids again, and that in fact any kids are allowed to play on the tree as long as they are respectful of the property.
“The school district itself was never the target of my ire per se, but kudos to them for handling this so well! Tree climbing for all!!!”