It’s become cliché… you know, because everybody says it. But it happens to be true in my case. When I was a kid I’d leave the house on summer mornings, and not return until I was hungry. That sometimes meant lunch, but it was usually dinner. So, I’d be out wandering around for hours and hours, getting into all manner of nonsense. And, as far as I could tell… nobody gave it a second thought.
Today, of course, parents believe their kids are going to be yanked into a waiting murder-van as soon as they leave their line of sight. Playtime is mostly organized and chaperoned, and probably not super-memorable. They all have anxiety and are fragile little snowflakes…
Yes, I can almost guarantee that the way we grew up was WAY more fun, and probably more healthy. But, holy shit. I can’t even imagine such a thing. I try not to smother my kids, but I want to have a general idea where they are, and who they’re with. Ya know? And their phones better be charged, goddammit. Literally no adult knew where I was, or how to reach me, during daylight hours when school was out of session.
And if you think bad shit didn’t happen back then, you’re fooling yourself. Heck, a girl from my class was abducted and murdered when I was in fifth grade. And the day after they found her body… Steve and I were out there again walking the ten blocks to school, or whatever it was. I mean, what are the chances of them killing ANOTHER kid, right? Don’t forget your lunchbox!
Years later a boy from our high school disappeared and they never figured out what happened to him. He was just gone. Forever. That’s not comforting.
Also, we used to get into some seriously dangerous stuff. A herd of semi-feral kids can come up with any number of questionable schemes that might lead to what was once called death by misadventure. We used to set fires… jump off the roofs of houses… ride our bikes down long dirt paths that were almost literally on a 45-degree angle… Just a dusting of parental involvement probably wouldn’t have been the worst thing.
On the other hand, I had a great time and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m sure I also learned to deal with a lot of things kids nowadays aren’t equipped to handle. The quivering little pusslets… Our way was the better way, right? Wonder why we weren’t able to relinquish the same amount of control our parents did? Heck, I’m as guilty as anyone. How much of it has to do with Oprah, 20/20, and Nancy Grace?
Please help me understand this. Use the comments link below, or above. Wherever it is.
Also, what shenanigans did you get into that would surely cause modern-day parents to collapse in a heap of despondency and horror? What were you allowed to do that simply wouldn’t fly in 2016? Tell us all about it.
And I’m going to call it a day, my friends.
I’ll see you guys again soon.