Another Summer Day Wasted

A more beautiful day than this, here in central New Jersey, can hardly be imagined–sapphire sky, birds calling, grass and leaves a brilliant bright green, sunny but not too hot–

And again, not a single free-range kid to be seen. Not one.

I don’t mean to keep beating on this drum, but I can’t help it. It’s so queer and unnatural not to see and hear children playing outside on a day like this. I think it must  be the single most unnatural thing about our current popular culture, which is notable for having a lot of unnatural things about it.

Oh, I know where the children are. They’re either indoors at home, playing video games all day, or else they’re in supervised “programs” all day.

Question: At what point does the supervision end? At what point does the child grow up and become able to act on his own? Or does that point just never happen? Maybe when you’re 31 years old, your parents and your teachers hand you over to the government for supervision. And so it never ends. You never stand on your own two feet. There’s always someone standing over you to tell you what to do. To take care of you.

Someone to be obeyed.

I shudder.

7 comments on “Another Summer Day Wasted

  1. Very good point, Lee. I remember traveling many miles and doing many things nearly every day – most of which were at least partly powered by imagination – which seems to be another item of stunted development today. Reading books we could “see” the story and characters, ride along for the action – but todays movies and video games, while amazing in their own range and imagination, do very little to encourage minds of those who participate into such thought exercises. We may learn how to defeat the enemy in a video game but often its through reflexes and trial and error, and since you can restart a level in a game so many times – we lose the importance of thinking it out and doing it right the first time. This gives kids today (and many adults) the idea they can just stumble through and reset if it does not work. We need a more real simulation – where you can’t start over so easily, where you have to think on your feet and succeed – and this might start with more kids running around the neighborhoods in imaginative play and real exercise.

    Mike Nichols

    1. In addition to winning the contest, Mike, you’ve also put up a thought-provoking comment.
      Really, what imagination does anybody need to play a video game? It’s all been pre-imagined for you. But we all know a book or a story told orally, or a radio play, stimulate the imagination much more than any TV show or movie. That’s why Tolkien illustrations never satisfy me–they never live up to what I’ve already imagined for myself.

      And as for the ability to reset and start over–well, that made an awful mess of my chess game. Now I’ve got to build it up again somehow, after being 1,500 games against a stupid computer that allowed do-overs. Oh, you win all the time, that way–but you wind up stinking at chess.

    2. Just a quick observation, but this evening I saw and cherished the sight, of 7 youngsters running down the sidewalk playing. They were maybe all younger than 10 and having fun. I now have a better appreciation for this than I would have several days ago.

  2. Your lamentation is right on. But what you see, I believe, is a symptom. The disease is the monsters roaming the earth. Consider that in Calgary recently, a Mom left her five year old with grandparents for overnight. Where could be safer? Well, so happens that a human monster appears . No bodies found yet, but the monster is in jail, awaiting trial on charges of first degree murder on the grandparents, and second degree on the five year old, because intent could not be proven in that case. So, what do parents conclude. Keep my kid in my sight at all times, in an ever sicker Western world.


    1. The thing to do is to remove those monsters, permanently–not concede the towns and streets and cities to them. If we’re going to be so terrified of them that we let them force us into a cramped, confining, unnatural way of life, then they have won and we have lost.

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