I grew up part of a generation who were told playing under the rain would make you sick.
Part of those kids whose parents would panic at the sight of a drizzle and call kids to get inside.Aside from getting colds, we were told the pollution was so bad, that the rain carried so many toxic chemicals with it, and that it was dirty.
So the first time my children got caught up in a downpour my instincts told me I should reel them in. That I should panic before they get soaked in this dirty, filthy, toxic rain.
But it was my youngest’s first time at the beach when it happened. We just got there and the kids were just warming up playing with shells, splashing water at each other and scooping sand with their hands. Until the sky turned gray and the rain started to pour. It wasn’t a gentle drizzle but a heavy downpour.
All the beach goers ran for cover, it must have been a knee jerk reaction because they seemed scared to get wet, even though they were already wet even before it rained.
I looked at my kids, at their eyes wide in wonder. They held their hands up feeling the rain as if trying to catch this happy moment with their tiny fingers. They were smiling from ear to ear their eyes squinting.
Instead of panicking and running for cover I watched as my kids scooped handfuls of wet sand and threw them at each other. I watched as they giggled and laughed out loud like there’s no tomorrow.
They say ours is a generation of parents that are over indulgent, we let our kids get away with almost anything, we don’t discipline them, we are not careful with them, we let them loose. But I beg to disagree.
After seeing my kids’ reaction to the pouring rain, the way this mundane and but natural occurrence amazed them. I realized I must have kept them indoors for so long, cooped up away from the scary things of the world that they have missed the chance to experience life.
Ours is a generation of parents bombarded with so many parenting theories, and science-backed advice on why we should avoid this and that. Everyday there’s a new scientific breakthrough with a new finding that debunks another telling us to be afraid, be very afraid for our children.
We are constantly in fear of every little insect, bee, and dirt. So we keep our children indoors, bundled up and sheltered away from the world.
Our streets now are almost always empty, ghost towns compared to how it was before.
Also read CNN’s Whatever Happened to ‘Go Outside and Play’?
While we do it out of love, we protect them because we care about them, at times we do it too much that they don’t get to experience life anymore. And we as parents who are supposed to enforce all these rules don’t get to experience the beauty of life with our children.
So just this once, I let them play in the rain. I let them feel the pouring water on their backs and the crashing waves on their feet. I let them roll around on wet sand and scream their hearts out. They were beyond happy.
And when they threw sand all over me too, I joined them.
I joined my children and played with them in the beach under the rain. It was one of the most amazing, most memorable experiences of my life.
When Mom died a few months ago I felt a part of me died with her.
But at that moment in the beach, under the rain, playing with my children, I felt alive again.