October 7, 2019 at 4:15 p.m.

Kids are living their 'good old days'

As I See It

By Diana Dolecki-

Make sure your children play outside 30 minutes a day.

I was flabbergasted when I first time I read those words.

A half hour? Are they serious?  

When I grew up, back in the stone age, I would have thought I was being punished if I was allowed to be outside for a mere half  an hour a day. The only time I approached that time limit was when it was raining. Even then I was expected to help with the feeding and milking, which took more than half an hour. Does that count as outside time?

I realize that today’s children are growing up in a vastly different world than I did. They are signed up for as many activities as their parents can afford. What with running them here and there children and parents are hard pressed to have any free time at all. Go outside for 30 minutes? When?

Not only that, but the world seems like a much more scary place than it used to be. Yes, there was strife, both on a personal and national level. The Vietnam war played in the background as riots and protesters filled the streets. But that was far away and didn’t  affect us. Or so we thought. 

Yes, there were guns in the house. No, there weren’t any mass shootings. School was a safe haven. There were no metal detectors, no police patrolling the halls. No raids or locker searches for drugs or weapons. The only time there was strife at school was when the teacher, Mr. Paine, chased Mike McFarland out of the classroom. I think Mike made it to the street before Mr. Paine gave up. Mike was back to school the following day and nobody ever talked about it.

There was a pack of wild dogs that made their rounds each year. For the few days that they were in the area, both me and our dog, Lassie, were not allowed our usual freedom. I was banished to the house and Lassie waited it out in the barn. The same rules applied during hunting season, except that the cows were kept in the small field close to the barn lest they be mistaken for a rabbit or quail.

In the small town of Verona, where my elementary school was, the Hell’s Angels rode through one day. Other than whooping it up, and leaving a wringer washer in the middle of the street, they didn’t live up to their reputation. 

What I’m trying to say is that life was simpler then. We were not constantly warned of real or imagined dangers. Did that make it better? Probably not. Time is linear. There is no going back. We live in a time where exercise and even a bit of boredom has to be added to our already over scheduled lives if they are to be experienced at all.

I wonder what today’s children will reminisce about. Will they remember their childhoods as being scheduled to the last second? Will they be grateful for all the activities and lessons we blessed them with? Will they remember when it was their school and their classmates that were in the news because of yet another mass shooting? 

Children are amazing creatures. They will take the best life has to offer and store it away in the archives until it is needed. One day, this will be their “good old days.” 
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