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.


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