Were you born in a tent?

“Were you born in a tent?” You turn around to see your dad standing there looking at you with an expression that says, “are you kidding me?”
The only problem is, you have no idea what he means. Well, research reveals that what he expressly means when he uses this phrase is simply that he wants you to close the door. However, what he really means is that he wants you to keep warm. Whether it makes sense or not, this is his unique way of caring about you.

It’s not unusual for parents to express themselves in strange ways… We all know this from what seems like a lifetime of embarrassment! But is it unusual to worry about a tiny breeze coming in, when we are so often exposed to the cold and the outdoors? Why does it matter that we stay completely toasty-warm in some instances, and in other instances when we are cold we are told to “toughen up?” Which is the right advice to follow?

Let me provide some examples here! It seems acceptable to be cold when: swimming in the pool, training for cross-country, visiting the snow, walking to school on a windy day, on a wintry day but you have to eat lunch outside like usual, the list goes on. However, if you leave the door ajar and the slightest breeze drifts in to your house you are immediately told off. When you are walking out the door to go out, I bet your mum always tells you to go back and get a jacket – even if its barely cold! So why is it that sometimes we get asked if we were born in a tent, and sometimes we feel like we wish we were in a tent – at least it would be warmer than sitting on the frosty school field at 9am in your P.E. shorts! 

This is a difficult question as there doesn’t seem to be a direct answer! From what I can tell, sometimes adults think that a little bit of cold won’t hurt you, but the majority of the time, they want us to be toasty and warm. As it turns out, the effects of cold weather go beyond the feelings of numbness we may develop. Coincidentally, a shiver serves almost the same purpose as a fever. It’s a warning from our body that we’ve gotten too cold, and bad things will happen unless we warm up again. I guess that is why sometimes it is okay to be cold for a short period of time, so long as you are quick to warm up again!

One of the best ways to keep healthy is to keep warm as the cold weather can affect your body’s ability to fight off viruses and infections. It’s unlikely that staying warm will be a matter of life and death, but it could be a matter of health and well-being.

I guess that’s why it wouldn’t be ideal to be raised in a tent! You’d probably catch your death after all. So make sure you stay wrapped up nice and warm this winter – as my grandma says:

Whether the weather is hot,

Whether the weather is not,

We’ll weather the weather,

Whatever the weather,

Whether we like it or not!

Critical Thinking Questions:

  1. What happens to your body if it gets too cold? What are the different stages.
  2. What can you do if you are too cold to warm up properly?
  3. How do our bodies handle the different weather during the winter? Are we made to handle the cold?

Practical Thinking Questions:

  1. Think of some of the sayings your parents have said to make sure you stay warm. Do you friends hear the same sort of things from their parents?
  2. Do you prefer the winter cold or the summer heat? Why?
  3. What is a situation where you are cold but you don’t mind? (i.e. going swimming in the ocean in the middle of winter but you don’t mind because you’re having a great time with your mates).
Hannah Skelton

Hannah Skelton

Hannah is a fourth-year law student at Otago University, with one year to go until she graduates. She works part-time at a bookshop and is a volunteer legal advisor at Community Law. When she isn’t studying or working she enjoys cooking delicious plant-based food, reading lots of books, sleeping in and, of course, enjoying the student lifestyle in Dunedin. She loves that writing for Kiwi Kids News encourages her to think about the ways in which current events and societal issues affect young people uniquely.
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