Archive for September 4th, 2008

2008.09.04

Free Range Kids

Quite a long time ago I lamented the fact that children today seem so protected from the world (of mostly imagined danger) that they are losing all sense of adventure. They don’t get to play outside as much (and they’re getting fat because of it). They seem to live in parentally controlled environments… Safe, clean, and somewhat sterile.

When I was a kid we didn’t have bicycle helmets. Heck, we only wore shin guards playing soccer because we were told we had to have them. We walked to school, and not the cliche “two miles uphill both ways in the snow” but seriously at least half a mile. We walked to and from our friends houses alone and sometimes after dark. We played in the woods. We made treehouses out of found (and sometimes stolen) planks of wood and nails, and swung from ropes over creeks. We never had to sneak out of the house because it was expected that we’d go out and play. We didn’t have arranged “play dates” at proscribed hours, we were simply told to go out and play after we did our homework and to be home by dinner time.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to grow up as a kid today. I don’t know when young parents got so protective of their children that they started to stifle them. Maybe it was when a few kids died falling off a bike (a helmet could have saved them!) or maybe when some pervert kidnapped a kid when they were at the playground (the parent should have never let them out of their sight!). Maybe when the newspapers and newscasters tried to garner every ounce of interest out of some murderer blaming his problems on his childhood when he got lost and was oh so scared or maybe some stupid marketer making parents paranoid that the little scrape on their child’s knee would lead to infection and eventual amputation of the leg.

I don’t know but I sincerely hope that if/when I have kids I raise them differently. And it’s refreshing to see that other people, people with kids themselves, see this issue in the same way. If you’re curious about their stories I suggest going to Free Range Kids. Start here and then dig into some of the entries, especially the comments. I miss my childhood adventures. I wouldn’t want my kids to not have the opportunity to miss their own.

1 Comment | Catergorized: memories  thoughts
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