Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Lost children

Jerry Stratton, July 11, 2006

Abe Lincoln, sorry, Ron Hart writes about the lack of risks and consequences in children’s play, asking “If people are not allowed to think for themselves, take measured risks and accept the consequences, then what kind of world do we have?”

When we were kids we became living proof of “survival of the fittest.”… We hitchhiked, rode in the back of trucks, drank water from garden hoses, had BB gun fights and played ball in our yards until dark. Little League had tryouts, and not everyone made the team. We knew that and became better at baseball to make the team.… No one was able to reach us all day… We had friends, and we met them outside and we played.

Yeah. I would take my bicycle out and drive down the road for (what felt like) miles. Not very often, because I was lazy (still am) but it just wasn’t a big deal. Neither was playing with the metal bars we found lying around and pretended were swords; or using real firecrackers; or getting bitten by a junkyard dog (we didn’t sue anybody, it never occurred to me and my parents never mentioned the possibility); or knowing that my father’s revolver was in the bottom drawer of his dresser.

Did we get hurt? Sure we did. I can still show you the scars from our swing set. (Lesson learned that day: when you’re playing with something that weighs more than you do, keep your eye on it.) The dog, too. And I guess I’m not as worried as some about the lack of free play today. The world tends to sort itself out. But it does sadden me. I can’t imagine growing up with 24-hour supervision and no free time to myself.

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