Who Has Disappeared the Children?

Image result for images of empty playground

I had an errand this morning, so I walked–downtown, and through some residential neighborhoods. It’s a beautiful day in June, sunny, with a gentle breeze; and school is out.

No children.

Well, all right: I did walk past a Montessori day care center that had a play area with a high fence around it, and I saw the tops of a few children’s heads when they climbed up the ladder for the sliding board. But other than that, zero.

I ask this every year. Why are there no children playing outside? Where are they?

They’re all indoors, in day care, in organized “programs” in which all their day’s activities are spoon-fed to them by adults. No spontaneous play allowed.

We raise our children as if they were ant larvae, in the care of strangers, starting virtually from the cradle and running all the way through school and–oh, Heaven help us!–college. Is it any wonder, if they develop a hive mentality?

This is not natural. This is not good. No child ever has to ask, “What’ll we play now?” No discussion among a small group of kiddies about what to play and how to play it. No experience, none at all, of making a decision. No experience of give-and-take. Just sit there and wait for some adult to tell you what to do and how to do it.

Is this any way to prepare for real life? How will any of these managed, regimented, carefully guarded children ever learn how to be free?

All they will ever have known is how to be managed.

I don’t like where this is headed. Do you?

9 comments on “Who Has Disappeared the Children?

  1. This country has been heading down the path of stifling free thought for many years. Remember Hil-liary’s famous line: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’? Remember when every child asked ‘why’ for every little thing? Control and submission are the goals. After all, how can a nation be taken over if too many ask ‘why’? The first ‘why’ should have been ‘why have we kicked God out of this nation?’

  2. Two words: video games and stupidphones. I have some youngster nephews that barely ever go outside and if you buy them a bike and explain how fun it is to ride, that bike will be found rusting or with a price sticker on it at the next community yard sale.
    I went to a Montessori school as a lil’ shaver and they had us read Animal Farm in the sixth grade. Mrs. Cheney warned us about the evil that is communism also in the sixth grade. Nowadays I ride by there on my bike and have fond memories of the salad days.

    1. I daresay they don’t warn kids about communism anymore. A kid I know–public school, of course–said, “My teacher told me that communism has a lot of good ideas.” *sigh*

  3. Whoops it is three words and stupidphone is not a word, hehe. I enjoy making words up and word jumbles. After elementary school I went through a public school system in a Red State.
    We read 1984 in 10th grade and many teachers were anti-communist and not afraid to tell us what it is really about.
    So glad I graduated when I did. A diploma from the local 100 year old high school used to really mean something but now it is watered down.

  4. Yes, it is a strange new world we are living in — no kids outside playing. I once saw a video on facebook about a neighbor who called the police because some boys were outside playing basketball and making noise. The policeman stopped by and then joined in. Other cops came along and then a cop brought along a professional basketball player whose name escapes me. I sent that video around for sure. I miss seeing kids outside and playing. Some girls in my old neighborhood in Philadelphia used to play double-dutch on the pavement across the street from our house. I loved sitting on my porch watching them while nursing my baby daughter.

  5. You should hear my siblings outside. I basically just sit back and make sure they aren’t breaking their necks or running out into the road.
    They don’t play with toys outside much. Mostly just sticks and rope. But they have so much fun. They were out last night and the night before, running around, enjoying the cooler night air. The other night they were all playing with the hoses getting soaking wet. It’s fun just to watch and listen to them.
    When I was their age, all the kids in the neighborhood were out playing in the summer, but nowadays, it’s very rare to see any children outside.

    1. “When I was their age…” Laura, watch out! You’re going to wind up sounding like me! But you do have an old head on your shoulders–which, believe me, is a compliment.

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