09 May 2011

Monday Musings...
Mother's Day got me to thinking (always a potentially dangerous prospect), about some of those great times I had growing up.
And we're not talking about those "glorious failures" as we reached those hormonal teen years, either...and in my particular case, a lot of years following those.
But think back to all those times when you were REALLY young...as in elementary grade or even pre-preteen.
Your age was measured in the upper SINGLE digits, and you had had a whole lot of time in front of you. Life was good.
I can remember with such clarity many of those times...wonder why that is?
Time you spent playing...as a child.
The imaginary friends...and all those stuffed ones who had their own distinct personalities were your playmates many times.
And then there were the real friends whose houses you frequented, had lunch at, and yes, played at.
One thing that was most prevalent when I was growing up, was the fact that we had TANGIBLE items to play with...or REAL BOOKS to read.
Today's society has less and less of that, and it pains me greatly to know that children growing up in such times both now and for times to come might well be deprived of those things "we" had as children.
Now, I'm sure (and I sincerely hope) that real books NEVER go out of vogue.
Nothing was better than to open a new "golden book" when I was little, for the FIRST TIME, hearing the spine make those crinkling sounds and smelling the pages.
Those books were a series that covered everything from cartoon characters to things we saw every day like airports, or factories, or even the jobs we would one day have like a milkman (all but gone), fireman (they're still around), and the school crossing guards.
I've always viewed books as that which we see whenever we open the windows of our imagination.
Books have taken me places I've never been, introduced me to people I might never meet, and instructed me in ways that I may be a more knowledgeable and wiser person. And books also made good forts for green army men...LOL.
Today, it's all about the KINDLE or the NOOK, and while I commend mankind's ability to produce technology by which we can have literally at our fingertips, a virtual library of reading, it should never take the place of a good old "real" book.
Besides, all that technology can be wiped clean with the flip of a switch...anyone ever hear about an electromagnetic pulse?
Those Kindles would become fancy paperweights at that point, while a book remains a book...a paperweight you can STILL pick up and READ.
(unless we start burning them as Nazi Germany did)
But that was only one facet of that precious jewel we called childhood.
Another was the fact that most ALL our toys back then were made not only to "entertain" us, but to foster something I feel is lacking in today's kids, namely CREATIVITY. Think about it.
I grew up in the days when battery-powered toys were the new "hot lick" on the block. And the batteries were all of the SIZE D nature.
Also, batteries cost MONEY, and sometimes, in our house, that money was better spent getting such things as FOOD, or paying bills.
My parents had one thing down pat - they did have their (and my) priorities STRAIGHT!
So, we had toys that "WE" had to make "talk"...or move.
We did it all for and by ourselves...it didn't do it BY ITSELF.
It was called "pretend-play"...and we pretended that things did more than they actually did. Worked for us just fine.
That alone is a big part of CREATIVITY...the ability to "create" an environment totally from a child's mind.
How many little boys today play with army men?
I'm talking about those little green unmoving ones that (now) come in plastic bags in dollar stores...
How many little girls do you see with a real doll these days?
I'm not referring to the BRATZ series (prostitot figures), or the one that requires your 7-year old to "breast-feed" it, but a doll that she can talk to and play dress-up with.
In my day, Barbie was still an "infant", and G.I.Joe (the original 12 inch tall one) didn't come along until 1966.
We had cardboard play storefronts, Tinkertoys, erector sets, and Lincoln Logs...and for the really "well-off" kids...LEGO BRICKS (they came from Europe and were expensive).
We had doll houses for the girls, dolls to dress, andeasy-bake ovens (complete with low-wattage light bulb).
Some would argue it was all sexist; that the boys got all the building and technical stuff, and the girls got all the home-making and cutesy things.
We even have CHEMISTRY SETS...horrors - what would HOMELAND SECURITY say to THAT, hmm?
Well, that kind of mirrored real life then.
Dad worked somewhere else, and mom stayed home, taking care of the house AND the children.
And that worked out pretty damn well...for a while.
(we all knew that our Moms did a lot MORE than our Dads when it came to "working" anyway. Dad only worked ONE job...Mom had about TWELVE...LOL)
The kids in MY neighborhood tended to not "go with that flow", and we played army with the girls as NURSES (just like in the 'Nam).
Today's kids have little if any of that level of creativity or "pretend" found in the types of toys they have available.
It's mostly all about some type of video game...even our classrooms are having it permeate well behind those ivy-covered walls.
Give every kid a laptop...and the world will somehow be SO much better, and overnight to boot.
That's what we're being told, anyway.
I'm just not buying that for some reason.
Kids need to be creative...in the REAL world, and not in some virtual environment that always has a RESET button within a finger's touch.
That is NOT how our world operates.
Yes, gone are the days when Mom's broom and a hank of rope was your "trusty steed" allowing you to ride into the valley and catch the bad guys.

And when it comes to real-time, real world PLAY, what better public place to do it than at the local PLAYGROUND, hmm?
Swings, the sliding board (the straight tall one, and not the one that looks like a CFL bulb), the monkey bars, and that thing you spun around on for 5 minutes and then threw up...all those things we had at OUR disposal...and ALWAYS under parental supervision.
Big change from what we see today...
I can look out late on any afternoon, and see LOTS of totally UNSUPERVISED kids...roaming all over the place...no real direction, no real purpose, and by the way they're bouncing around, hopped up on some "sugar-rush".
Or burned out and just hanging on a corner when it wears the hell off.
Yesterday on Fayette Drive in our city we had a hit & run against a 16 MONTH-old who was "playing" in a parking lot.
Here's the link to the story:
I see similar things around my ghettohood...TODDLERS running in and out of the damn street, sitting down IN the street, and riding scooters and bicycles they cannot fully control.
And ALL this in plain view and reach of traffic going up and down our street.
Well, you can forget about any "creativity" at this point...it's more about SAFETY, as in the LACK OF.
I keep saying if these people posing as parents (for that tax break and gov't check) would BE a parent (for once) and get concerned about the health and well-being of their children, incidents like the one on Fayette Drive would not happen...it's that simple.
And, as I always have said, if the FWPD would do a few PATROLS in the area, and tell these kids to stay on the sidewalk, instead of in the middle of a traffic-laden street, we'd have fewer occasions to attend the funeral of a toddler, wouldn't we?
This is what happens when you take away most all of that "creativity", and channel it elsewhere.
Nothing all that "creative" about becoming someone's hood ornament, or the newest speed-bump in the street.
Same goes for kids that play sports in the street as well. And that's why the city provided all those PLAYGROUNDS to utilize for such things.
If these kids can roam the streets to all hours, it makes me wonder WHY they can't "roam" to a playground that is less than 3 blocks away?
(no creativity to speak of, Bob)
Yeah, that's got to be it.
But, we can take solace from knowing that our children WILL know how to use the Internet as well as every device known to man that can connect to it in some manner.
They may not ever know what a Dewey Decimal System is, or build a fort for their army men, or even learn how to do things like count change our in their head...because some device will always be there to do it for them.
Yep..not much creativity in THAT, is there?
Makes me wonder what the next 50 years will hold in store as far as "childhood" goes.
Seems like THAT concept is becoming as antiquated as the venerable hard-back book.
We must never let that disappear.
The mind of the child is where the future lies...the creative aspect of mankind.
And if anything, that needs to be nurtured and not suppressed or supplanted by anything that gives that child a false sense of hope or security.
In life, there is never that "reset" or "easy" button...only one's ability to reason, correct, adapt, and then press forward.
We did it in the past, and there was never an issue with that.
Children were allowed to be creative, and basically be children.
Life is too short and too precious to be compromised by whatever gadget comes along to take the place of parents, or learning, or anything else they need to be aware of.
Let them all be kids, and let them be taught and supervised, so that they might be protected and educated long enough to leave childhood for adulthood, and find out that everything done when they were young was indeed...FOR THEIR OWN GOOD.
Have a great week.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay safe out there, America.


CWMartin said...


Bob G. said...

LOL...very "to the point", eh?

I just call 'em, as I see 'em (and as I was brought up to believe)
Attending and then later TEACHING Sunday School didn't hurt me none, either.


Thanks for stopping on by today.
(gotta run...my LEGOS are getting COLD...lol)

Stay safe up there.