Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The End of Innocence? Things I Miss For My Kids About Childhood...

I was reading this article in the NY Times on-line about kids walking to school. It got me thinking about the world that is so different for kids today than the one I grew up in. To be clear, this isn't a Jordan vs. US post. This is a US in the 70s vs. the US now post. The bus stop debate is apparently another area for parents to feel bad about themselves. After the much publicized stranger abductions of kids walking home from school, parents have become more and more frightened of letting their kids out of their sight. I don't blame them. I'm a Mom. According to some an overprotective Mom.

I shudder at the little 4 year olds who walk to the school across from ButterBean's all alone. I fear for their lives on a practical level, not even and abduction-potential one. But, I also get the desire to build Independence. That's why some see me as overprotective... in KG 1 and 2, I walked ButterBean to her classroom. Not because I wanted to, but because she needed me to. Nowadays, the TwinBeans' classrooms are on the second floor and I wave goodbye at the front door. They just need less hand-holding - literally. But, in the US, the hyper-fear of abduction (only about 115 a year by stangers as compared to 250,000 injured in car accidents...) is leading to more hand-holding rather than less.

But, seeing the article, I did think about the things I miss for my kids, so here's my list. Feel free to add your own things via comments...
  1. Walking to school with my brother, our friends, and our neighbors
  2. Playing neighborhood hide-and-seek
  3. Riding bikes around the whole large neighborhood without fear or causing maternal heart attacks
  4. Spending long summer days and early evenings out catching bugs, playing games, and generally being a kid
  5. Walking down to the neighborhood five and dime (mini-mart) to buy candy and such with money from the tooth fairy
  6. Going to the mall with friends and spending hours wandering through shops
  7. Going off to the skating rink or putt-putt place while MemeBean was at work

That's my short list of independence-related things. More to add? Drop me a comment.

Happy Childhood!


At 4:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great list! I would just add flashlight tag to your number 4. We would play that for about an hour after dark and then our parents would just yell our names really loudly, and we'd all go home. I don't even have kids, but I know that I wouldn't feel comfortable letting them run the neighborhood after dark!

At 3:04 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

I am very scared for the small children I see out walking in Jordan--mostly because of the horrible drivers. I feel it is safer here walking about, but I still don't let any of my kids do it. If we are going walking, we'll all go walking together. I know this is different from Arab culture in general which is known for sending a child out to buy bread or hummus or soda, etc. I would rather fire up the car and go myself than risk the safety of my children on foot. Let's start the over-protective mothers group. Ha.

At 8:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

#2 - or neighborhood scavenger hunts when we got older. I was thinking about how my children (3 &7) rarely play in the front yard & definatley not alone. They play outside in the backyard, but it has a privacy fence. It is sad that they don't get to experience some of the carefree activites we enjoyed as children.

At 1:38 PM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Emily, flashlight tag! I'd SO forgotten that. Thanks. And, yeah, I'm with you.

Nicole, no question I'm counterculture here too ;). No walking on the streets with the insane drivers.

Anon, Neighborhood scavenger hunts are another great one. If we were in the US, I'd be with you on the playing in the backyard, but probably would still feel paranoid of they were unsupervised... Yikes! How did I ever manage to grow up?!

At 11:02 PM , Anonymous KF said...

Walking to a friend's house in the neighborhood to see if they can come out to play just for a bit. Spur of the moment, short times with friends.

Today, we have to schedule play-dates (I can't stand that word), and many last a few hours! So many kids here and in the US have such busy after school schedules, that time with friends is often only once a week, just before or on the weekend.

At 3:31 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Oooh, KF, excellent ones. I agree on the playdate thing. But, we have the overscheduled problem must admit... :(


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