Halloween has got some of us all reflecting on our childhoods when we would gather with our friends and run around the neighborhood in our plastic masks. Or like the times my friends and I would play baseball using the four street corners as bases.
Today people would hardly let their kids walk to a friend’s house alone. Even if they would, there are barely any sidewalks in existence today. What are bicycles? What happened to the hoodlum kids running around together only to come home when the street lights came on or the sound of mothers calling their children home for dinner. Looking back it’s quite hilarious to remember hearing 8 mothers yelling for their kids, which could be heard for 10 blocks.
Fear is a poison that society loves to prescribe for raising our young ones. What happen to those Jungle Jims mounted firmly in asphalt or those wacky merry-go-rounds that had kids clinging for dear life? I’m not saying technology isn’t great, for instance, like the rubber composite ground covering under most play areas at parks. But everything today is anti-bacterial and cushy, next thing you know we’ll be sending our kids out of the house in bubble wrap.
Fundraisers use to be a door-to-door function that made children get out and earn their toys. Now the parents do the majority of the work, taking the order forms to work or to grandma and grandpa’s house. And today even that has become overbearing with a fundraiser twice a month.
I played a few organized sports as a kid, like football, baseball and track. Guess how many trophies I got? One, in baseball when we took third in the city championship. I also got 3 ribbons in track for finishing third in my events. When we lost the baseball championship run I was devastated. Was that so bad? Today everyone gets to feel good and get a trophy. What are we teaching our children?
There is no doubt that technology paves the way of the future. Kids will be on the computer or video game system, which is not all bad; it’s the wave of the future. But sometimes we need to let go and let them be kids.
Today folks are so wrapped up in being home bodies they barely know their neighbors. Your neighbors use to be your eyes and ears and they would watch out for your kids as if they were their own. Take a measure of yourself and see how many of your neighbors you know on your block. My wife and I have only talked to or met 7 of our 11 neighbors. But I’d wager that is more than most. And we have made acquaintances with them by offering them gifts like May Day flowers, or a jar of homemade brownie mix.
This is probably a solution less problem, but the effort can be made to know your neighbors. Making friends can make allies who just may look out for your kids, affording them to have the privilege of playing outside around the neighborhood under the watchful eyes of you neighborhood friends.