Harrison Farm

for now, the only thing we're growing on this farm is kids - not the goat variety

Barefoot Children

bare-feet.jpg

In the spring, summer, and fall, our kids wear shoes only when we leave home. When one neighbor saw my children barefooted in March, she politely informed me that her mother’s rule was that the children had to wear shoes until they saw the first butterfly of the season. My kids just moaned when I made that proposal.

Marathon and I moaned this morning when we were talking about the influx of felines we’ve seen in the neighborhood lately. They seem to be everywhere, often in our yard. Thankfully cats generally bury their droppings (although we’ve seen some break that stereotype around here), but dogs are happy to leave it behind completely exposed to my children’s bare feet. Should we be concerned about the possibility of them catching a disease or parasite if they come in contact with feces on the ground?

I still remember those earth science classes in 4th grade when I first learned about hookworms. I still cringe when I walk on damp grass barefooted. I hope I can get over it one of these days and actually enjoy being barefooted in morning dew.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Hookworms are mainly a problem in 3rd world countries where sanitation is very poor. The chances of a child in the US at this point in history getting hookworms is very unlikely. Possible? yes. Likely? no.
  • If a child has an open wound, they are a risk of contracting bacteria from feces. So, protect cuts & scrapes.
  • There are no dangers to stepping in urine.
  • If you step in doo, clean your foot. You don’t want to leave it there and give parasites time to penetrate the skin. At least you can clean feet really well, unlike small, deep treads on some shoes that might bring the mess in the house, and that you’ll continue to handle whenever putting on your shoes. Ick!

Unless I learn something more alarming, I plan to keep the romance…let the kids stay barefooted, and let the toes breathe. – milkmaid

14 Comments

  1. AMEN! I haven’t seen Joseph’s shoes in weeks. Well, maybe once. In the chaos of our attempts to get all five kids dressed and fed and out the door, one or two of my kids have shown up to church barefooted. I’m glad we attend a church where most people just smile and say, “It’s nice to see kids that still go barefoot in the summer.” There are just too many other things to focus our attention on than forcing kids into shoes when they would rather feel the grass beneath their toes.

  2. It is good to see children going barefoot. And I think it pleases God that we allow our children the joy to experieance his creation in this way. Barefoot children have such a carefree and inocent look about them.

  3. Milkmaid

    October 18, 2007 at 10:21 am

    Here it is, mid-October, and my kids are still resisting shoes. I asked Carman & Sudoku why they preferred going barefooted. Here are their reasons in order.
    1. putting on shoes takes time
    2. it’s nice to feel the grass & pavement on your feet
    3. your feet don’t get “all hot and musty” in your shoes
    And this is a funny tidbit. I was recently reacquainted with some friends from college.
    They were telling me about the church they joined. One of the things they mentioned that attracted them to the church was…can you believe?…children coming to church barefooted! And these are not “green,” earthy people but a professor and a physician.

  4. Now I wish all Churches would allow children to go barefoot. I think it is important to make church as an enjoyable experiance for our children as possible. By the way what church is it your friends attend. Do they have children of their own in the ranks of barefooted there as well? God Bless Dee.

  5. Milkmaid

    October 18, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    I don’t know about the status of their kids’ feet, but the church they were a part of was an orthodox presbyterian church.

  6. It’s November, now, and here in the hills above the Adriatic coast, in Italy, where we live, the time has finally come to stop my daughters going barefoot all day, outside the home. During the night it’s almost freezing !

    But from Easter till the end of October they just went about barefoot most of the time, always in the yard but also going about in the neighbourhood, doing errands, going places…. It is not commonplace here, for children to run about barefoot all day, you only see a few, but this does not deter Marina (5) and Sara (3) from enjoying themselves barefoot, nor me to allow them to do so! The joys of childhood, wriggling, grass tickling, mud going up between your toes, gravel hurting, you getting used to it… That’s life !

    rachele

  7. Milkmaid

    November 11, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Rachele,
    Thanks for visiting the site. How fun to have a visitor from Italy! Makes the world seem like a smaller place.
    It has cooled off here as well. We’ve now had 3 morning frosts. The kids will wear shoes in the morning, but when the afternoons warm up, they peel the shoes off again 🙂

  8. Congratulations on letting your kids live barefoot whenever they like! It’s reasonable, practical, healthy and fun, and it also teaches to judge for yourself what is good for you (an ability that many adults don’t have, which leads to all the grossly unhealthy lifestyles that we see). Best teach your children to avoid stepping in dog poo or anything otherwise icky/unpleasant. (And provide regular vaccinations, such as tetanus.) A barefoot childhood is a happier childhood!

    cheers from austria!

  9. Wonderful! It’s so heart warming to see this special part of childhood continue. Children going barefoot is one of the most innocent and natural things left in this world. Most poeple don’t realize that going barefoot is instinctual, kids don’t think about it, they just do it. Your kids will one day look back on this with happy memories, and think of the joyful freedom of going barefoot.

  10. harry smithington

    December 10, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    i love going barefoot – what is the point of shoes?

  11. Milkmaid

    December 18, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    Harry,
    I guess most parents would say, “To protect your feet.” Of course, what better way to toughen your feet than to ditch the shoes?

    People who love going barefoot but find need of “shoes” for certain casual occasions should look into Vibram Five Finger shoes. Has anyone tried these?

  12. It is usually up tight, smug, socially challenged people that have a problem with bare feet. They are just a wee bit narrow minded. We weren’t born with shoes on, and you don’t grow a pair as you get older. Bare feet are comfortable, and even people who wear shoes all the time will happily kick them off at the door the instant they get home. More over, bare feet are healthy feet. You can walk through pool of fungus and not get athlete’s foot because bare feet do not provide the conditions for it to grow… shoes do! (That’s why there’s no such thing as athlete’s hand!!) It feels good, it’s healthy, so what’s the problem? Going barefoot isn’t just for kids, everyone should be able to feel comfortable stepping out without shoes.

  13. Going barefoot is fantastic for children (and adults, of course). There is good scientific evidence that shoes hamper the development of a child’s foot and sets them up for a lifetime of foot problems. Parents should definitely let there children go barefoot as much as possible and schools should not force shoes on kids in the classroom. Kudos to you for being so sensible!

  14. Barefoot Preacher

    October 25, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    While none of the kids in our church come to service barefoot, they do hang out in the youth room shoeless quite often. I myself have joined the shoeless activities from time to time. My 11 year old daughter comes home from school everyday and leaves her shoes and socks at the door. We are constantly after her about picking up her socks. And our 15 year old son rarely ever wears shoes or socks outside of school, although he’ll put his shoes on when we go somewhere, but when hanging around the house or yard, he’s barefoot.

    Most of us in the house own Crocs shoes. They are handy to slip on when going somewhere and don’t require socks. Plus they are easy to remove in the car (and wherever we’re going most of the time!).

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