K is for Knees


As I write this, my knee is really sore.  When I was coming home from work last night, I rolled my ankle…yeah, yeah, the heels were too high…and came down on my right knee.  Ouch!

When I was a kid my knees were almost constantly missing skin.  I have the scars to this day.

I guess, like most kids, I always wanted to get to wherever I was going as fast as possible, so walking was not an option.  Mum’s advice to not run on the concrete was ignored. I ran everywhere and my poor knees suffered.

The playing field at our school was huge expanse of hard clay.  There was not a blade of grass on it.  In the centre was a concrete cricket pitch for the boys and, in one corner, there were four concrete softball bases.  Believe me, there were not too many instances of anyone sliding in to those bases.

It didn’t worry us that there was no grass.  We had forty-five glorious minutes of free play time, so the lack of grass was a minor issue.

We played cricket and softball and football and trained for inter-school matches.  We also played lots of games which involved chasing someone – Red Rover, Bedlam, Catch and Kiss, Stuck in the Mud, Octopus and, of course, there were many versions of Cops and Robbers type games.  We ran around a lot.

Then there were the swings.  Our favourite game on the swings was the one where you had to swing and swing until you were going really high and then – jump off and see how far you could fly.  You marked your landing spot by scraping a line in the dirt and the other kids would try to beat your mark.  Loads of fun…many scraped knees.

I reckon over the years at primary school I must have lost about three metres of skin off my knees, gone through sixty packets of sticky plasters and at least ten litres of that red antiseptic stuff.


Most of these games have now been banned by the education department because children might get hurt. In today’s litigious society, schools have to protect themselves from lawsuits. Children are not allowed to turn cartwheels or other somersaults at school.  Even skipping is on the No list at some schools.  I feel sorry for the teachers who have to enforce these rules and I feel sorry for the children who don’t get to do (what I consider to be) normal kid things.

Sure, you can get hurt.  Sure you can skin your knees or maybe, as in my daughter’s case, break an arm (dropping down from the climber..I saw her do it…I was the teacher on yard duty!), but you also develop risk taking  skills.  You learn what your body is capable of and how to assess a situation for safety. This is usually achieved by trying, failing, skinning a knee or two and trying again.

So, it seems that although I am not running so much these days, I am still moving too fast at times…yeah, yeah and wearing high heels – maybe my risk taking skills need reviewing.   I still skin my knees occasionally.

But, seriously, why would I want to slow down?  I have so much that I want to do!


16 thoughts on “K is for Knees

  1. I am often amused to see facebook posts along the lines of “we did this and this and survived, share if you were a child of the 80s”. The eighties! That feels like yesterday.
    I agree that children are missing out on a lot of “real” childhood because of fear, often on the part of the very parents who made or shared the above facebook post – and don’t get me started on early education for two-year-old children [link]

    1. It really annoyed me as a teacher when I had to tell kids to stop turning cartwheels or that weren’t allowed to skip on the concrete or some equally ridiculous rule. Kids are kids and need to experiment through play in order to learn. Absolutely agree on education of littlies. Glad I am no longer in ‘the system’.

  2. Kids are missing out on so much today. I would not like to be them. I try and share some of the things we did as kids with my son and people have aid really he will get hurt. Big deal he can get up and try again. Skin knees never killed me.

  3. I am watching my daughter raise her little guy and right now trying to find an appropriate pre-school. She has visited 6 so far and is so disappointed. She wants her little guy challenged in every way as we were as kids. So sad that schools are run by fear. She does not want him coddled or praised if he finishes his LUNCH. Ridiculous!
    Well, it is official — 1) I think you and I grew up together so tell me, where did you grow up? and 2) I am your biggest fan

    1. I am so glad you can relate to my experiences, Carol. I grew up in Brisbane Australia, in the suburb of St Lucia. It is right on the Brisbane river, so there were some pretty terrific mangrove areas for us to enjoy..and plant our little brothers in. Where did you grow up? Biggest fan, eh? Love that. Must say I really enjoy visiting your blog too. 🙂

  4. Wow, three meters of skin … that must’ve been painful. I do understand, though, the part about the missing skin from your knees in childhood. Although I didn’t play a whole lot of sports, it was in the neighborhood games that I fell and scraped my knees quite a bit. Enjoyed visiting your blog.
    Silvia @

    1. Me too, Sylvia. It was during the chasing games that most skin was lost. We weren’t playing on nice grassy surfaces usually. Thanks for visiting. Please come again.

  5. Yep, I shutter to think what these generations of kids with their perfectly un-scarred knees will do to the world. I hate the thought of a society that encourages children to walk at a steady pace and never take risks!

  6. Thanks for the trip down memory lane! Nowadays my knees mostly hurt from running – I’m getting older and am now in the ‘veteran’ category at my running club – so I suppose something has to ache.

  7. I’ve had a lifetime of hurting my knees. Skinned knees from running, falling, skipping, sliding as a child … sport accidents … running as an adult … and my latest (and current) hurt is a torn ligament which is agony. I wouldn’t have changed anything though, and as a teacher, I too deplore the trend to molly coddle kids and not let them learn through healthy active play – it is going to negatively affect the rest of their lives.

    Thanks for your comments on my blog.
    Eileen @ In My Playroom (also doing the A to Z Challenge)

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