Disclaimer: I came across this draft today. It was started last summer. I’ll do my best to change where it says “this summer,” but some of them may slip through. Apologies!
There are times when I sit here and say, “My childhood wasn’t that long ago, I have no right to say anything about ‘kids these days'” and then there are times when it feels like an eternity.
This summer has been Last Summer was Last summer, Two summers ago, while training for a marathon, I’d run by a new building development. It was just gravel at the time, though, so I didn’t really think anything of it. Well, aside from the fact that the location of said development is in the middle of a once-heavily wooded area along a narrow, windy back road that connects two areas of our township. This summer Last summer, though, as I was running along, buildings had sprung up. And I noticed something unusual: there were no yards. Granted, those cookie-cutter housing plans are pretty squashed together (gotta maximize that ROI), but there was about 5 feet of “yard” before the back dropped off. Literally.
What parent would allow their child to play in an area like that, let alone keep purchasing soccer balls to be offered up to the winds of fate that always carry balls away. When I was a kid and a ball went into the woods behind my house, we had to go searching for it. That usually was the best part because we got to go into the woods. But really, what parent would say, “Okay, you lost it, go find it. Just let me get the repelling ropes first”?
Allow me to shake my cane for a moment.. Kids these days just sit inside and play on their computer or their X-Box 5050 or whatever they’re called. I remember being younger and my parents and my neighbors’ parents specifically saying “Don’t come home until it’s dark.” Some of my best memories are of games that we made up, like swinging on the swing set, trying to kick a soft ball that was thrown at us, and seeing if we can kick it on the deck (and if it landed in my mother’s garden, how quickly we could get it out unseen). Or having a wedding ceremony so the boy next door could marry the tree in his front yard (not quite sure what happened to that fellow or why our parents didn’t institutionalize us for that one). Or biking along the trails and getting your tires stuck in dirt bike ruts. I have some good scars from being outside.
There’s just something I don’t understand about developing and marketing family homes in a place that isn’t conducive to family life.