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.
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?