The timing of this story popping into my email box couldn’t have been more ironic: my kids had just whined “I’m bored!” for the hundredth time. As I washed dishes and looked out at the sunny day blessing our wooded neighborhood, I said, “Why don’t you go outside and play until I’m done?”
You see, my kids often have a difficult time going outside to play unless I’m with them, which I find quite bizarre.
I know this isn’t “the good ol’ days” but for context it’s important to note that I grew up in an equally-wooded and safe place to play and was outside playing for up to eight hours a day at a stretch.
My kids’ limit? Eight minutes. Max. And mine are ten, seven, and five respectively. They are not toddlers, and know the rules about sticking together and staying close to home. There are five people on my street, we all watch out for each other, and our kids are so loud that if I don’t hear them screaming like banshees I know something’s up. Plus, I’m never far behind them.
So when I received the story Mom Arrested for Letting her Kids Play Outside it was with disbelief and shame. Not only that my kids cannot entertain themselves for long stretches (and that I’ve allowed it) but society as a whole cannot remember a time when kids roamed the streets with nothing but a ball, a scooter and an imagination.