“Smith agitates against what he perceives as the over-scheduled and over-supervised lives of suburban children as he celebrates privacy, boredom, and time to oneself away from adults.”
As a kid I was not bored because I jumped on my bike and went to a friend’s, or the creek, or the pool, or the basketball court, or the movies, or pinball arcade, or fished, or played waffle ball, or football, or flew model rockets, or skateboarded, or learned to sail, or played water polo, or built or found BMX jumps, or bought candy at the store, or put pennies on the railroad tracks and watch them get smooshed, or read a book, or went to a high school football game, or visited friends at their track meet, or built a skateboard ramp, or built a lounge chair from plans at the school workshop, or went surfing, or mountain biking, or learned to fix my car, golfed, or formed a punk rock cover band with some friends because I got tired of them practicing guitar but never doing anything with it (I was the “singer”), or shined my shoes, or learned how to play poker and blackjack, or went on a camping trip (California is lousy with great places to go), or flew a kite, or. . .
My mom signed me up for swim team, soccer, and baseball, and I never objected or felt pressure to do it. I even got myself to practice and games/meets because I could ride a bike.
A college roommate described me as “the most active bored person he had ever known.” The first TV I owned was bought when I was 44.
But I speak only for myself. Time for a hike.
While growing up, on summer vacation, we were kicked out of the house after breakfast, and told to be home for dinner at 6.
Don’t get arrested, don’t steal shit, destroy shit or hurt other people - and punishments were harsh if that did happen.
Different world, different time I guess.
I have similar stories but I know the only constant is change and the world is constantly changing, and I know I if had the shit my kids have today when I was a kid I would be doing the same things as them.
I’ve read that the rate of child abduction or molestation, has not substantially increased since I was a child. I was born in the 1950’s. Yet the perception that it has increased, has itself, increased.
Perhaps the 24-hour news cycle has ramped up the parental level of paranoia these days, by exaggerating the dangers for children.
In California, we have a thing called an “Amber Alert.” It was started by the parents of a child named Amber, who was abducted and murdered. When a child is reported missing, and email Amber Alert goes out to people who sign up for the notification. I’ve also seen those digital signs on the freeway post Amber Alerts. The thing is, California is a huge state. The odds of anyone seeing the missing child are pretty remote. Yet the impact of the Amber Alert itself, in promoting a feeling that children are being snatched left and right by strangers, as well as the fear it inspires, simply isn’t justified. Most abducted children are abducted by one of their own parents; usually the losing parent in a divorce tug of war.
There is also the phenomenon called “Helicopter Parents.” These are pathologically sick parents who are trying desperately to protect their offspring from the “slings and arrows” of everyday life. With parents like these, it’s no wonder we have “trigger warnings” in colleges and young people with hyper-sensitive sensibilities who are so easily offended by so little.
When I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles, I walked to school and back by myself or with a friend. It was no big deal. You tell that to a parent these days, and you’ll get an audible gasp of disbelief.
“Free Range Kids”. Great phrase, I was one, I’m a fan.