Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Parental Musings

I read this quote on Bliss today.

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s or even the early 80s, probably shouldn't have survived. Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. (Not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking).

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat. We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. Horrors! We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of wood scraps and fruit crates and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

Now one was able to reach us by cell phone. Unthinkable! We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no ninety-nine channels on cable, videotape movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, or Internet chat rooms. We had neighborhood friends! We played dodge ball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt. We played other games such as Kick the Can and Capture the Flag. We fell out of trees, got cut, and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us.

We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it. We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms, and although were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did worms live inside us forever. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell or just walked in. Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Some of us weren't as smart as others, so we failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade. Horrors! Tests were not adjusted for any reason. Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected, no one to hide behind. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that! This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever.

I agree. Totally. We even live some of this. For example, my daughters (10 and 12 years) do not have Play Stations. Or DSs. Or cell phones. Television and computer is limited to two hours a day. NO TV on a school night. I have been told by my children that I am the "meanest mom...EVER". Family members have told me I am scarring my children and keeping them from having normal, healthy social lives.

I have been asked "What will the children do when we are in the car for our 8 hour road trip?" in a hushed voice that also suggests that I should be careful in case Child Protective Services hears that we have no portable TV or video games for long trips. We play the license plate game (remember that one?), we talk (crazy, I know), and we stop at interesting places (like Lincoln's birthplace, a stop on our way home from Mammoth Caves).

One thing these people forget is that while I am depriving my children of their "necessities", we are also building character and letting them practice entertaining themselves. These people who tell me how nice my children are to their younger peers, or how pleasantly they hold conversation don't seem to realize that the very act of "depriving" them of their childhood technology rights have created these same pleasant young people.

And now, let me descend my soapbox.

I'm just saying...

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