Children and Bare Feet: A Parent's Perspective
Let's try to keep this one shorter, and a little sweeter, without taking away the authoritative voice it carries. This article was inspired by an old woman I ran into on our walk to the park today, while we also practiced social distancing which this article is not about. She had the gumption to not only judge me for not wearing my shirt, but to tell me I was wrong for not making myself and my son wear shoes. Let's delve into this, shall we?
I take my son for a walk whenever it is sunny and warm enough to do so, much like the day today, but today was different. We came across an old woman who had just gotten off the phone with her mother, or so she called the other person on the line, and in my friendly fashion I said, "Good morning!"
She got that confused/disgusted, raised-lip scowl on her face and forced out an angry, "Good morning..." retort that I wasn't about to indulge any further and kept walking. As I walked away she asked after me, "Are you a Southern California boy? You need to be wearing clothes!"
I turned around while my son played in the grass and responded, "Born and raised! Grew up on the beach, so if the sun is out the clothes come off!"
She shook her head and her look of disgust turned to one of contempt, she stated angrily, "You and your son should be wearing shoes!"
I went on to explain, as she continuously shook her head and tried to raise her hand up toward my face in a shoosh/talk to the hand movement, the science behind not wearing shoes because when you do it reshapes the bones, causes certain muscles to atrophy, and makes it harder to be barefoot for long periods of time. I also explained the long-term positive effects of it and how I used to and still play sports and it improves my performance while in shoes.
After my thorough explanation, she asked condescendingly, "Oh yeah, where'd you read all that? My doctor says not wearing shoes is bad."
I wasn't about to bury her in her own level of ignorance so I just said, "Okay, well it is an interesting science if you ever want to Google the benefits of not wearing shoes. However, I don't advise it at your age! It is more for us young folk, and those who have done it all their lives and trained to withstand the higher impact! Have a good one!"
At this point I turned and began to walk away and she turned out to be a last word freak, shouting after me she said, "Well people don't pick up their dog poop around here, so you better watch your kid more closely!"
Had she not been a frail old woman, and on an equal physical level as me, we may have shared a much more heated conversation.
Bare Feet Are Happy Feet
Here are a bunch of anecdotal and factual resources to touch on for barefoot walking and other activities to do while barefoot.
- The importance of calluses
- The sensations of callused feet
- Pros and cons of shoes vs. bare feet
- Hippy nonsense about the practice of "Earthing"
- Foot development as it concerns adolescent (habitual) barefooted walking
- Exercising barefoot
If you ever approach someone, especially me, please make sure you come in guns blazing because I'm ready to defend everything I do with science and proper practices. I would never willingly put my son in danger of physical, mental, spiritual, financial, or emotional harm. Most people know what the heck they are doing, and those that don't usually aren't out at the park barefoot, shirtless, tanned, and in great shape.