Big thanks to ma boy, JT, for sharing my concerns and for being the first to bring this article to my attention.
I have held onto this one for several weeks for a few reasons. In the timely sense, this is the feature in the December issue of Reason Magazine. Philosophically, because I am a bit sensitive to the reaction this may create as I never! firmly want to tell parents how to parent nor do I want to persuade them in a direction opposite of the norms to which they may be working well with their kids already. But also because of the depths of the constant negative matter circling above and around the current affairs of bullying in schools, child neglect and abuse, and more recently, seemingly unavoidable - gun violence, mass shootings and sexual harassment cases to name a few. You name it … things are not exactly all positive right now.
So let's take life back now and show our kids how to be stronger and more resilient for a more promising and positive tomorrow. I had this actual article discussion with my ma and dad over a year ago and we clearly were looking for answers.
Why are more kids not walking to school or riding bikes to the playground?!! (Apparently, Only 13 percent of them now walk to school.)
What happened to the days you can play in the backyard for hours without worry or play 2 on 2 basketball in the driveway until your fingers start to bleed? Does anyone even play Kick the Can anymore, my God that was the life!
Why are sports so incredibly structured… from 2 years old and up now it seems!
This article is the first substantial take I have read on the subject. IN. MY. OPINION., in The Fragile Generation (TFG), Lenore Skenazy and Jonathon Haidt do an outstanding job of storytelling and providing fact driven lessons and research that I can only hope starts to catch on in the doctrines of modern day parenting and teaching (and coaching)!
Each section within TFG hits home. Not just for me but for most, if not all the kids and families, I work with. Their anecdotes are spot on; the 911 call on the boy chopping wood, swings and teeter-totters being banned, kids under 12 not allowed to go to library alone and my favorite being the (adult) couple who called the police to ultimately come over and set a mouse trap for the mouse in their apartment. For crying out loud, the authors cite that the Consumer Product Safety Commission even warns parks of "tripping hazards, like…tree stumps and rocks," a fact unearthed (so to speak) by Philip Howard, author of 2010's Life Without Lawyers.
Fear & Structure
Skenazy (@FreeRangeKids) & Haidt (@JonHaidt) are not afraid to squash the fear of rising preds and perps in the world either. If you look further into this, today, your kids (and adults) are safer today than ever since 1963. "While Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker writes in 2011's The Better Angels of Our Nature that life in most countries is safer today than at any time in human history, the press keeps pushing paranoia. This makes stepping back feel doubly risky: There's the fear of child kidnappers and the fear of Child Protective Services."
When it comes to the Youth Sports Industry and the astronomical amount of time and dollars spent on structured sports, there must also be a way of bringing back how things use to be. At least, this is one of my personal agendas to fix.
#FamilyFirst #6:00Supper #BackyardPickupGames #UnplugForADay