It was recently announced that the US Postal Service would destroy an entire press run of a stamp series aimed at getting children to be more active.
According to Linn’s Stamp News, three of the stamps in the 15 stamp series raised safety concerns among sports experts on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.
However, according to an updated article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a USPS spokesperson says no decision has been made to destroy the stamps and that a verdict would be made later this year.
The stamps in question show illustrations of children performing a ‘”cannonball” dive into a pool, skateboarding without kneepads, and doing a headstand without a helmet. The depictions of “dangerous” activities came to light after USPS marketing chief Nagisa Manabe asked First Lady Michelle Obama to take part in a first day ceremony for the stamps.
Keeping children safe is undoubtedly important and yes, wearing protective gear while engaging in certain physical activities is wise. Are parents demanding their children wear a helmet before attempting a headstand? Probably not. The stamps are simply a fun way to promote physical activity. They should not be viewed as a literal depiction of how the various activities should be performed.
Life is dangerous and we do our best to take precautions and to keep our children out of harm’s way. But scrapes, bruises and falls are simply a fact of life. Getting knocked down and picking yourself back up is an important life lesson.
Children who are allowed to experience risk – at school, on the playground and at home – are being allowed to learn about themselves, their likes/dislikes and how to assess risk.
The stamps could be used for teachable moments with children to discuss parents’ beliefs about the importance of play and expectations about safety. They could be used as a demonstration of the importance of physical exercise. If we continue down the road we are on, one day in the future they will be used as historical evidence that once upon a time Americans did handstands.
What do you think about the possibility of destroying these stamps? Do the benefits of promoting physical activity via such a high-profile media outweigh any minor flaws that may be there?