Thursday, July 22, 2010

Remember When: The Carefree Days of Summer

The last two nights a bunch of the neighborhood kids ran across lawns and into back yards, pretending to be spies and planning elaborate schemes.

And a wave of nostalgia hit me about my carefree childhood days.

Which look drastically different now. The first sign it was different? I sat outside and monitored their play (well, sort of--I was reading a book).

I do have a six-year-old. Maybe I won't monitor so much when he's older, or maybe I wouldn't even check so much if I had more than one kid and was over the whole thing.

Yet there I sat making sure abduction from my front yard had not taken place and that everyone was "playing nice".

And maybe I'm dating myself here or maybe this was just in my family or 'hood but somehow I doubt it. Here goes.


*You'd head out the door in the morning, be gone for hours, only to return when you heard your mom calling you for lunch or dinner? Did your mom know where you had been all that time? NOPE!

*You didn't wait for your mom to set up a supervised play-date for you. You just showed up on someone's doorstep and started playing.

*You didn't wait for you mom or dad to get down on the floor with you. You just...played. With lots of imagination.

When did it all change?

*Was it before there were 24 hour news stations, and live interviews with parents pouring their hearts out about a missing child and other horrible things?

*Or before parents were made to feel guilty for pretty much everything? Don't get me wrong, I like that parents interact with their children way more, but hate the guilt associated with it, when I just plain don't feel like it.

My mother-in-law always says, "You poor parents have it tough these days." And I sooo get what she means.

The above ad IS crazy though, right? So we'd probably agree that some things have changed for the better, and some things, have not!



Unknown said...

It's sad to know that our children won't have the same experience we had growing up. I remember being told to go outside and play with no toys or anything, we used our imganation and by the end we were the one's who didn't want to come inside when it was dinner time.

Video games weren't something that was important, learning how to kill with a control, nope just good old fashioned fun without the parentals watching our every move.

Oh those were the days! Happy Thursday!

Matthew MacNish said...

My mom actually had a bell like that she would ring when it was time for dinner. There were a lot of kids on our block and it was AWESOME.

Lindsay said...

So true. I think there are so many restrictions on kids now they can't be kids.
Like Jen, I used to go outside and use my imagination to play. Me and my friend used to jump over objects in her back garden like we were show jumpers.
Ah, innocent days.

MBW aka Olleymae said...

lol I think that picture is hilarious. Maybe if parents and kids still drank beer together, everyone could loosen up a bit ;).

I miss all of those make-believe games of my childhood--sounds like a fun trip down memory lane.

Maddy said...

Lol!! Well, when I was growing up (or I shoud say *where* I grew up), we didn't do any of that! I grew up in a very dangerous neighborhood, so playtime was strictly indoors and mostly with my sisters. We weren't allowed to play outside, which I now attribute to my lack of interest in physical/ outdoor activities :o/ It was no way to live, but at least we are all safe & sound now. But I hope my kids can enjoy carefree playtime with their pals. Because I know I would've loved a play date, even if it was an organized one.

Janet Johnson said...

You so have this right. I sit out there and supervise, too. The world has changed. I miss those carefree days like crazy. And I can't even imagine letting my kid just go knock on a door. *sigh* My mom NEVER set up playdates when I was little.

Cheyanne said...

I lived in a big neighborhood and we all rode our bikes to each other's houses. My mom didn't yell for me but the rule was that I had to be home when it started getting dark. Those were the days.

Now, I live on a dead end street and sit outside watching my child every two seconds to make sure she's not stolen or dying. It's ridiculous.

JEM said...

Uh, don't tell my future pediatrician, but I am totally using this post as an excuse to drink beer after I have a baby. You're on the hook, Christina :)

Pamela Gold said...

In my neighborhood we had a 6:00pm whistle and it could be heard throughout the entire neighborhood. Generally, once the whistle was heard, all essential play items were put away quickly and we all returned home for dinner. Speaking wasn't necessary because we all knew the drill.

You would be psycho to let your kids do "whatever" for 10 hours during the day without checking in on them. SHEESH!

Bossy Betty said...

Loved the ad!!!

I think the media plays a big role in hyping the dangers of the world. Gotta find a balance somewhere....

Linda said...

Hi, Times have changed. Oh! how they have. No more playing by themselves.They are safer in numbers. I still want to know where they are. Kids still use their imaginations, I see it all the time. It is truly a scary time now. No more carefree days left. Great post.
Thank you for your comment.

Clara said...

Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaa, beer is good for mammas?? lol
I totally agree with you, parents nowadays have such a pressure to be perfect.
Which I honestly think its stupid: we all have flaws so we will be ,one way or another, flawed parents. Trying to be the perfect parent is like trying to be the perfect person. Both just dont exhist. Like Santa!

Rachele Alpine said...

Oh wow...I used to love playing outside in the summer. There were about 15 of us in my neighborhood and I lived for games of kickball, ghost in the graveyard and running bases.

Tahereh said...

oh my god this post just took me so far back.


so true. i miss the days of endless summer.

Christina Lee said...

Maddy--interesting, thanks for sharing. I so wish that for you!

JEM *thumbs up*

Lourie said...

Spot on, Christina! Spot on! I will say tho, that when hubby and I lived in VA in military housing life was more like what it used to be. Was it because we were all bonded in that special way? Was it because the base was heavily guarded (at first) by packin' MP's(think 9/11) later to be guarded by contracted security since the MPs needed to be elsewhere. My point is, that was the one place where my kids and other kids could play like we did. It's so sad. Our kids also have technology that we never dreamed of!
Excellent post!

Sharlene T. said...

Those certainly were the days... what's sad is that today's children don't seem to have any imagination... everything is controlled or electronic or scheduled... I don't know what the answer is but I do know that I'm glad I'm not a young mother, anymore... too scary... thanks for posting some really fun pix... oh, and thank you for your neat comment on my very first vlog!

Twitter: SolarChief

Veronica Roth said...

Great post! I hate to think of the strain on my mother's vocal cords as she shouted "VERONICA" so the entire neighborhood could hear it. Meanwhile, I was running around in the woods, almost stepping on rusty nails. Now I look back and think "how did she EVER feel okay about letting me just wander around like that?"

Laura S. said...

Oh, yes, I agree!!! My generation is when cable TV and video games made their debut, but my parents didn't allow us to watch TV or own Nintendo. And we didn't even care! Playing outside in our imaginary worlds was way more fun. And when it rained, we built our imaginary worlds with Legos. My parents' only rule for playing outside was that we stayed on our block, which was huge. How times have changed!

for a different kind of girl said...

I always knew it had to be getting close to dinner time because we had a neighbor who stepped out her back door and rang a bell for her kids to let them know THEY had to come home to eat.

We used to spend the entire day outside, riding bikes all over the town. I live in the same town now, but it's so, so different. More streets, much more traffic, etc. My kids go out and play now, and I've loosened a bit on the constant need to monitor them, for the reasons you mention (more than one, older), but I definitely do poke around and see what's going on, and thanks to cell phones, I can check up on them (the boys are often together because, somehow, I'm graced by two boys who still like to play together and with the same people despite their age gap).

Pam said...

Was remembering my summer days as a child the other day. You could stay out till way after dark playing hide and seek in about 4 yards and having a blast. There was tag football, baseball and just hanging out. So much fun.

LisaDay said...

My goal is for my guy to play often without so much scheduling. However, as we live far away from everything and everyone, I will have to organize playdates.


Debbie said...

I don't know. There are days I'm pretty sure I'd be a better mother if there was a case of beer in the house:)

Dina's Days said...

I remember when we would be out all day long and we knew we had to be back by dark. No questions asked. Except for the one time, I decided to wander off into the next neighborhood only to freak my mother out because I was gone so long.

I was so scared when I got home, I literally peed my pants. Literally. I will never forget it.