I have to admit it, I am being a curmudgeon in this post. You know-getting all grumpy about A)something I can't control, and B)something that really doesn't matter. But sometimes it feels good to get jiggy with my curmudgeon side, so today I am rolling with it.
Facebook, and chain e-mails, seems to love sending around the "remember when" ditty's. Rememeber when gas was a quarter? Remember when the sexiest thing on tv was "Love Boat"? Remember how we actually had Christmas Vacation and not Winter Break? Remember how we smoked during pregnancy AND snacked on lead paint chips? I usually roll my eyes or jog down memory lane for just a wee bit, even though most of these are not to interesting. However, there is one that always frustrates me. Remember when we actually played outside and the street lights going on meant it was time for home?
I can't change the price of a loaf of bread, and I wish we could go back to the days of LESS reality tv, but seriously, if you want to see kids play outside, LET YOUR KIDS OUTSIDE!! Seriously, we can solve this one. I hear people lament about this one all the time, about kids not going outside anymore, and it frustrates me because it is so easily solved.
Ohhhh, I know what people will say. The possible bee stings, broken bones, or fights from bullies. Kids can get bit by dogs, scratched by cats, or chased by rabid possums. They could get weird germs from playing in the gutter, or the dog poop in my front yard. What if they eat the weird berries, or worse, someone tries to abduct them?
The truth is, statistically, kids are safer than ever before. With bicycle helmets, immunizations, and sunscreens, kids today have protections most of us over 40 never dreamed of. And while I wish abductions never happened, the truth is, most children are taken by someone they know. So why are we so damn scared to let our kids out? Every headline seems like our backyard. The worst you can imagine may have happened half way around the world, but still, it happened, scarying us into fat kids who view the outdoors as the worst place to be.
Just because statistically kids are safer doesn't mean you have to let your guard down. I don't send my kids out to play in highway traffic with hunting knives because hey, statistically they are safer now then 20 years ago. I still go with my 6 year old to the restroom at the mall, and I never let my kids out in the front yard unless I am out front too. Statistic might relieve my mind, but my heart still has to see those horrid stories about kids not coming home due to a predator. However, what I can do as a parent is make sure I am giving my kids the opportunities I had. I go out front so they can. I let them play in my fenced in backyard, even though they could break something. I watch them make up weird games, and sometimes pretend I don't see them poking at the dog poop so they can snickeer about it later. And I would challenge any parent concerned that their kids weren't getting to watch the street lights come on in the summer, to do the same. Childhood is calling...go enjoy it. So there.........