Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My mother was never this busy

Today alone, I scheduled and rescheduled four girls activities to begin at 6pm this evening and end around 6pm Friday evening. Between the multiple phone calls to arrange drop offs and pick ups, manipulating my work schedule and weaving it all around established appointments, I've managed to make things work.

I don't remember my mother ever doing any of this. If we wanted to go somewhere or play with someone, we went outside, got on a bike and went. Very rarely did Mom have to take me anywhere. She worked full-time (rare back in the day) as a nurse, so I either got myself to where I was going or asked for a friend's mother to give me a ride.

Mom would leave at around 8am and tell me to make sure I ate lunch and had a good day. I think those days are pretty much over. The fabric of society is fraying around the edges, and it's not as comfortable as it used to be. I can't feel as secure as my mother once did about sending my kids out for the day.

Here's one really good reason why:

For my zip code alone there are 15 registered offenders, the key word being "REGISTERED" -- no one knows who the "unregistered" offenders. With the legal system willing to allow sex offenders to re-enter our neighborhoods, there is less comfort in allowing your child to just go run and play. 

Not only do parents have to worry about who is around when their kids are playing outside, they also have to worry about whether they will be considered the criminal! Imagine my mother doing today what she did back when I was a kid. She'd have been arrested! I might have been removed from the home.

So, we schedule and we plan, we enroll and we transport. Our kids are no longer growing in independence, but increasingly in dependence. And parents -- well, we are just losing our minds trying to keep up with our kids social lives, organized physical activities (since they can't just run and play any longer), and their mandatory summer enrichment programs.

Kids need to be kids: running, playing, enjoying God's creation. They need to learn how to be their own person, do things on their own and make decisions that keep them safe and sound. That requires them to test these waters in what used to be the safety of their own neighborhoods, their own backyards. They shouldn't have to worry about whether Mr. X is a sex offender when they are out, or if Mama's going to go to jail for letting them play outside unattended.

The madness must end. Common sense must prevail.


theresa said...

Did the legal system ever prohibit sex offenders from moving back into ordinary neighborhoods, though, or was just there just not as much awareness of how likely they were to be lurking? At least there is a registry now, as limited good as it can do (and I do check ours somewhat regularly as well as the ones near relatives we visit in another state). I don't know that the prison terms were any longer "back in the day," nor that the offenders were more likely, or even as likely, to be prosecuted in the first place.

Davin Winger said...

Come to Gruver!

Kids are riding bikes and walking to and fro.

Of course we have our undesirables too.

Kathy said...


It was probably more an awareness issue. One thing I do remember from my youth was that there was a bigger level of upset when someone who was convicted of such an offense was going to be moved into an neighborhood. There were town meetings and hearings; there was a stigma attached that today is just not as prevalent. I have to go search a registry. I'll have to look up the numbers but, I would guess that the number of convicted sex offenders has increased exponentially since I was a kid. Whether it's a result of more people filing charges or just an increase in perverts, I have no idea. But, there is definitely an elevated level of concern for safety that is attached to having access to all the information available currently. It impacts the freedom of the children to just be children. Why do we have so much screen time? Because parents are worried to send their children out to be children.

Kathy said...


I think you hit the nail on the head. Here in Northern VA, we seem like a suburb, but we're really a city. The city keeps creeping out our way and the only way to escape it is to move West or move out of the area altogether. That's not a possibility for many whose jobs keep them here. So, we do the best we can...and keep our kids very scheduled.

Cat said...

I think the ready access to porn on the internet has made for a huge rise in the numbers of pervs out there. Just my opinion of course.