This post isn’t going to be one of my usual esoteric romps. This one is more of a rant, but if I don’t let it out I just might explode.
I’m really grateful that I got to be a kid back in the 1960’s before society turned into a neurotic knot of fear. Much of my childhood wasn’t easy, but nevertheless I keep finding more and more sentimental old war stories to brag about, like being force-fed cod liver oil, having to walk to school wearing a dress in sub-zero temperatures, or being allowed to bounce freely around inside a moving vehicle without a seatbelt. Station wagons were my favorite because we got to hang out that big back window and make faces at the cars behind us.
We used an Etch A Sketch instead of a laptop, an Eight Ball instead of the Psychic Network, and rabbit ears instead of cable. At recess we used sticks as play guns and stole first kisses without being expelled and labeled as potential terrorists or sex offenders.
My dog, Chips, a Shepherd mix, followed me everywhere I went back then. When we played touch football my buddies would always toss me the ball knowing that no one would dare come near me because Chips would nip them in the ass. I shared every Hershey bar I ever ate with that dog and she lived to be 14.
Back then it was rare for a kid to be overweight because we were always outside playing, but today, because of poor nutrition and lack of activity, our children's health is seriously at risk. I’m not saying that our parents had it right, or that I don’t believe in protecting our kids, but our parents knew something that I believe this generation has forgotten, and that is how to keep things simple and use common sense.
I feel rather sorry for today’s children because they have unwittingly become the victims of a witch-hunt on childhood triggered by the exaggerated fears of some of the adults sent to protect them. “Jason,” who bit his Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun and said, “Bang bang!” is not the enemy. Sweet Bella, who stole a kiss from Ben, and then kicked him in the shin, is not the problem. These are not criminals. They are normal kids. Our kids.
The adults creating blanket rules that fail to take into regard the nature of children/childhood are the problem. When we allow fear to take the reins we lose our capacity to think clearly, which in turn affects our ability to use sound judgment—we become part of the problem, forfeiting our sense of community for a updated version of McCarthyism. I mean, what kind of person thinks it is appropriate to report a six-year-old to the law for stealing a kiss? Someone get a life please!
It is said that what we focus on expands. Well, I believe that today’s kids need something positive to focus on before we turn them into small counterparts of our society—fearful hypersensitive little tattle tales. In short—I think this country really needs to lighten up and smarten up. We’re stressing our children out.
We’re turning them into the enemy.
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