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At Communicate (a conference for environmental communicators) last year, David Attenborough was asked where his passion for the natural world came from. The first part of his answer was about his fascination for the fossils he discovered as a boy. Then he went on to say this, which I think speaks volumes not just about how he was parented, but also hints at his fears of what might happen if we don’t try to get our fears in perspective today:

“I grew up in Leicester, and in those days, in the 30s, it was not unusual for a boy of 12 to get on a bicycle and disappear into the countryside on his own, by himself, and not return home until dark.

So any one who cared about or had an interest in the countryside could do that, and it’s a great pity that now we feel that kids are unsafe.

We do, I think, over-protect our kids… I hope we don’t mollycoddle our kids too much.”

If David Attenborough’s parents had bubble-wrapped and helicoptered him, would we ever have heard of him? Here’s the first part of the interview.

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