Where are the Children?

I know I’ve mentioned this before–but where are the children?

After several days of rain, the weekend weather here was gorgeous. As I went around the neighborhood on various errands, I didn’t see a single kid playing outside–not one. I know the absence of children is a daily feature of the local scene, these days, but I’ll never get used to it. It’s too much like a scene from a creepy science fiction movie.

Actually, I haven’t yet run into anyone who says this is a good thing–keeping kids indoors, never letting them out except to go to school or play a “sport” whose whole structure has been laid out by adults, who supervise every minute of it.

Is this childhood, or a variety of prison camp?

Why do teens seem to be drawn to dystopian visions like Divergent or The Hunger Games? “Overprotective parents,” theorizes one of my friends, a professor of psychology: their overprotectiveness makes children think the world is more dangerous than it really is.

When my wife was just a little girl, her parents, every summer, used to put her on the train–just Patty and her suitcase–to vacation with a nice woman who had a house at the shore. Can you imagine any parents doing that today? What do you suppose the odds would be of the child’s actually getting there?

I think we must agree that certain things have changed: but rather than actually doing anything to reduce the threats to children’s safety, we keep the kiddies under lock and key and don’t allow them to do things on their own.

My editor wonders if maybe today’s helicopter parents were yesterday’s latch-key kids, now overcompensating for the lack of contact they had with their own parents twenty years ago. She may have something there.

Whatever the case, it does seem to me that children who grow up under constant supervision, spoon-fed, with every hour of the day mapped out for them by adults, never really grow up at all, but remain in a state of perpetual dependence.

Which is just where Big Government wants them.


5 comments on “Where are the Children?

  1. Kids still go out to play in Glasgow. But you are right on saying kids are getting wrapped in cotton wool.

  2. Lee Reasonable article, but Most of the children are under parental guard, and that is where they should be. The others are by now slaves or dead, or used as organ donors, or as satanic sacrifices which can happen in our Liberal Secular Society, a society which nusrses to life two legged monsters who freely roam, and in which quite some time gone decided to throw away its basic religious beliefs, rules of rights and wrongs, and heritage. Parents are not blind to the possibilities.

    But, the disappeared are not all totally vulnerable helpless kids. Look for this one. Dave –http://madisonscott.ca/?page_id=256

  3. I am eighty. When I was about eight years old, I was allowed to board the trolley in North Columbus, Ohio, even then a big city and a long way from my two destinations, the center of downtown and my other grandparents house in the inner city many blocks away. I remember my dad rehearsing me on my grandmother’s home address in case I got lost so I could tell a cop. They walked a beat back then. I was given money for tickets and shopping downtown. Imagine that today!

  4. We thankfully have a fenced in backyard where my younger siblings can play by themselves; sometimes I’m kind of inclined to go out there and supervise, but then I remember that when I was their age my mom hardly ever watched us outside. We did tons of things: rode our bikes (we had a nice sized yard), built treehouses and wigwams, played army, climbed trees, made fire-ant stew (of course we never ate it), made bows and arrows. We would probably have horrified most parents by the way we were allowed to have pocketknives, hammers, saws, and nails.
    It’s a childhood I fondly remember, and I don’t want to spoil the chance for that with the younger ones. So I let them alone, and guess what? They have fun, and if they get hurt they’ll either continue playing, or come to one of us to have it fixed and then they’re back out there being kids.

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