Kids don’t play anymore?

I guess I am in a time warp in some ways, well, on certain subjects – particularly how children are being brought up since I never had any. I am often in shock when I discover how much has changed from the time I grew up, and then, suddenly I wonder just what the hell happened. And, what kind of world are we living in now, really?

I mean, here, an article from the NY Times about children not PLAYING any more. Or to be more accurate, the article talks about how children, even in kindergarten, are given computers and not sandboxes or other playground equipment – and how they no longer have RECESS. Apparently, and I did know this, even from my slumbering state of non-parental duties, most people don’t allow their children outside to play anymore from fear. Even though the chance of them being abducted is extremely small, rare. All other activities are structured recreational activities like soccer, or lessons given in the hopes of creating higher SAT scores much later in life. Lessons in Chinese or violin are fine, I took violin, and I”m happy I did, but what about running around outside and pretending to be today’s equivalent of 007? I don’t get it. What the hell happened people? To remedy this, there are actually non-profits and university seminars that promote play for children! The venerable Center for Disease Control is even advocating play. Now, you would think having an actual governmental agency using its authority and subsequent heft to get parents to loosen up and let Johnny or Alice make a mess or (shudder) run around outside would make a squint of a difference here, but apparently many parents are not impressed. Hence, there is a need for non-profit advocacy of this strange notion of playtime for kids. Getting parents on board with this radical new idea. unstructured play, is not easy. They all want their little Einstein in training at three, studying Bantu or kindergarten physics in highly structured environments. I have news for these parents: most likely your kid is not a genius and never will be, but even if he or she is, a little less control might help the matter along. How about just letting your kid use his or her imagination ? That’s what real genius is often about anyway, using the imagination and being able to PLAY.

Loosen up people! What the hell is wrong with you? When did we become a nation of control freaks?

I think more than anything, adults are a little fearful of children’s play,” said Joan Almon, executive director of the Alliance for Childhood, a nonprofit pro-play group. “Some people have a greater tolerance for chaos and have developed a hand for gently bringing it back into order. Others get really nervous about it.” Megan Rosker, a mother of three (ages 6, 3 and 2) in Redington Shores, Fla., has learned to embrace the disorder. She set aside the large sunroom in her home for the children and filled it with blocks, games, crayons, magazines to cut up and draw in, as well as toys and dress-up clothes. “I think a big part of free play is having space to do it in, a space that isn’t ruled over by adults,” she said.

Parents have to LEARN to “embrace the disorder” of children’s play? What the hell is that about? What kind of controlling neurotics are these people? And, they have to plug into a non-profit to figure this out?

It’s times like these, I am glad I am 53, and had parents who let me play, although then I wonder what the hell my generation did, or maybe this is Generation X’s handiwork. And, if so, what the hell happened?

Alerted to the article by neo=neocon here. The comments on her blog appear to indicate that some believe this Times article is mainly talking about certain segments of society, not most people. I sure hope so!
She says it’s one of the most depressing articles she’s ever read


One thought on “Kids don’t play anymore?

  1. L.O. March 7, 2011 / 8:56 am

    ….I am laughing about the Generation X handiwork. I don’t like to generalize, but the new kids on the block (the folks about 26 years old and younger) are much more hip, tolerant and cool, compared to Gen X. Gen X was a handful!!!!!! (talk about chaos!!!)
    in jest

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