All of these pictures are here to remind you how important it is to always wear protection.
By all means, have kids if you want them (I love mine) and whatever you do, keep enjoying live music and share that love with your kids. But noise causes hearing loss. It is inevitable and irreversible. But it can be slowed by minimizing exposure to extremely loud noise, like heavy machinery and amplified music – any amplified music, even if the sound is “mellow”.
For years I thought I was too cool for earplugs, and went to scores of concerts without them. Now my hearing loss is typical of a person a decade older than me. When your kids go off to college they might be stupid like me, but until then it’s up to you to protect their ears.
Helmets when they ride bikes or motorcycles. Protective ear muffs when they are little, ear plugs when they are big enough. They are not expensive, but not wearing them is.
I don’t normally put pictures of other people’s kids on the internet, but these pictures are three years old and these boys are probably big enough to beat you up by now. At Eistnaflug in 2014, this group of kids was always hanging around the venue – sometimes sneaking inside it, too, since the festival was still 18+ back then.
In the documentary Eistnaflug DVD, they talk about how the festival has introduced a generation of small-town kids to heavy music, and I remember people talking about some local boys who had formed a band called Blodstafir in tribute to Iceland’s famous export band Solstafir. At the time, I wondered if it was the same group I’d seen recklessly skating in front of the venue, looking like they’d ride straight into the water of the fjord at the bottom of the hill.
I imagine that if I go back to the festival in Neskaupstadur in a couple of years, I’ll look up at the stage and find out.
In the white, liberal, upper middle-class circles I usually inhabit, safety trumps all other values. Helicopter parenting has become the standard for responsible parenting, despite data to the contrary. Schools and parents are increasingly making decisions based on the fear of lawsuits or the fear of disapproval from more safety-conscious parents instead of their own best judgement. So this quote from Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book struck me as particularly meaningful.
“I wanted to keep you perfectly safe,” said Silas. “But there is only one perfectly safe place for your kind and you will not reach it until all your adventures are over and none of them matter anymore.”
We should not seek perfect safety for our children, or for anyone we care about.