While I was off in Australia on vacation.....I flipped on the TV one night and got SBS.....the marginalized Australia public-run TV network. Generally, if you ask any Australian about it.....they will say that roughly one-percent of population watches SBS on occasion and it's about the most worthless part of tax-revenue spending in Australia.
Well.....all that said and such.....I sat and watched a 20-minute documentary piece done by some Australian guy on Denmark and Germany. Yeah, I had traveled 15,000 kilometers.....to watch a documentary on Germany.
The subject? Waldkind. The forest children.
Years ago, in Denmark....they started up this kindergarten for four to six year old kids. No grammar, no math, no classroom knowledge.....just practical knowledge on living in the woods.
Yeah, I know.....this sounds pretty strange.
So, the idea is that you have a kid and at 7:30 in the morning.....you drop this kid off at a cabin or hut at the edge of the village. There will be this guy in a wool jacket and heavy boots. Your kid will be dressed for winter weather. For the next five hours, this guy will lead a band of thirty-odd kids (from his hut) through the woods....in summer, fall, winter and spring. No warm cozy hut.....no playground. Just the woods.
They showed the next scene. Here was Jurgen (some kid about five years old), who'd climbed up some thin tree and was hanging onto some branch about thirty-feet of the ground. The tree was bending a good six feet in one direction and on the life-in-balance numbers.....I'd say that the kid was pushing a "NINE" on risk and danger. The wool jacket boss guy didn't say anything or yell at the kid. He just explained to the reporter.....you need to let kids do things like this and learn from their mistakes.
The next scene was a fallen tree with tons of limbs sticking out and great potential for getting hurt, and thirty kids climbing all over the thing.
The next scene? They'd reached some point where the wool jacket guy had handed out knives and kids were whittling away on sticks.....with sharp knives (five and six year old kids).
The reporter asked if the guy had ever had an injured kid. The wool jacket guy smiled and said about twenty years ago.....he had some adult who had accidentally run over a kid's foot. That was the only time that he'd gone to the hospital with a kid.
The reporter then asked a health expert about this business. They responded that it was a curious thing.....kids who went through this two-year experience....tended to boost their immune system and avoid colds.
For me, I was kinda amazed. You couldn't do something like this in Alabama, for the simple reason that we'd go the next step or two beyond expectations. We'd be the ones who noted the wool jacket boss wasn't looking and take off for the next valley and get lost. We'd also be the ones to pick up snakes, or jump down into fifty-foot pits. We'd also be the ones who attempted to jump from one tree to another and break both legs as we fell.
Here in this Denmark operation (similar in nature to the German ones).....whatever the wool jacket guy said....was absolutely minded. No disrespect to the guy, crossing lines, or going beyond the rules of the day. That impressed me.
It would be curious to take this kid in twenty years time and evaluate their mental side and ability to handle stress and chaos. My thinking is that the kid has got some built-in ability given to him by the months in this forest 'training-camp' and it might be worth a million bucks.