It's true what they say about childhood in the past. The freedom we had was amazing and real.
I lived with my Mother until the end of 3rd grade. I remember in the winter time, my brother and I would get bundled up and go play in the snow for hours. Not an adult in sight! We would play with the neighborhood kids. Have snowball fights and build igloos!
In the summer we would walk ourselves to the pool during the day. Play outside until the sun went down. Never once seeing a supervising eye. It was freedom like no other!
I moved in with my Dad in 4th grade. There was a family directly across the street from us and the boy was the same age as me. We quickly became best friends! We spent a lot of time outdoors, roaming the streets. Walking wherever we chose. The arcade, the gas station, the neighborhood..... By ourselves.
We even walked to school every day and cut through a path in some dense woods!
We also spent a lot of time in his room playing Atari and listening to records. But one of my favorite things we did was record our voices on his cassette tape recorder. HOURS of fun! We would make movies and then play it back in Chipmunk voice.
On to middle school I began to make new friends. My neighbor and I were still very close but I began to become a little bit wild for his taste. I had new friends, kind of rebelious friends, if you will. We would walk to the gas stations, the school at night. Again, anywhere we wanted to go, we went!
Well I'll admit I do know what that freedom feels like. 100% I know. And people ask me these days if I will let my own kids experience that freedom. I tell them no. Flat out no.
Why? Because although I had this freedom and an extreme amount of fun, there are plenty of things that I am not telling you. Things that happen to children who are unsupervised. The not so bright side of freedom.
But make no mistake, the dark things are not what I focus on! They are what I learn from.
So when I hear people say it makes them angry that kids today are not allowed the same freedom we had so long ago, I want to, frankly, stomp their toe.
I loved the freedom I had but I will not pretend it was perfect. What I will do is learn from it all and try to give my kids more of the good things.
I don't live or dwell in the past but I will not ignore it, as it has much to teach me!
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