Grazed knees and kids used to go together. Childhood should be an active time, a time of exploration and in such an environment kids expect cuts and bruises. They become an inevitable part of growing up.
I remember my childhood days from the 1950s when we wore grazed knees with pride. Sure, becoming brave enough not to cry took practice and the sight of blood made our lips tremble and tears well in our eyes. But we knew where to find the instant cure.
We’d rush inside, wailing about our misfortune, seeking some love and comfort more than any medical attention. Mum would clean our knee, dab it dry with a soft cloth and say, ‘There, now let me kiss it better.’
This involved Mum raising her forefinger to her lips, placing a kiss upon her finger in a display of affection and placing that kiss on our grazed knee, or whatever other part of the body had been injured. Tears were washed from our face and we enjoyed a quick cuddle, before being sent outside to play again.
We weren’t encouraged to dwell on our minor misfortune or the sight of blood. My father made a big thing about the need for blood and he pointed out mine was nice and red, a healthy sign.
I feel sad today when I watch kids turning small grazes into major catastrophes. We live in a plaster or band-aid world. At the mere pinprick of blood many kids fall apart at the seams and limp off to get the attention they crave. A huge manufacturing industry has developed, producing colourful kid like plasters to protect the tiny cut or injury. Having received the demanded plaster, many kids continue with a huge attention seeking display, acting like a wounded soldier, showing off their covered injury, no matter how small it may be.
Kids are resilient and bounce back. They don’t need mollycoddling. Scratches, small cuts and grazes heal quickly with the wound being cleaned, a quick dose of parental love and lots of fresh air.
I’m so glad I grew up in a home with minimal items in the first aid cabinet. Expectations were different. A quick clean up, a cuddle and a kiss to make it better were usually all we needed.