Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"Free-range kids" Used to be the "Old Normal"

I grew up in NE Philadelphia on a pretty basic row-home street three blocks away from my elementary school. From the age of six, I walked it myself. The deli we got our lunchmeat from was across Colgate Avenue, and my mom would sometimes send me there with a list since I was seven. The recreation center (with pool) was two blocks up the Avenue. I went alone from the time I was ten. I also went to the library, or to my friends' houses, who lived usually five or six blocks away, by myself since about nine or ten.

So to me, this thing where "free range children" are picked up by the police for being some walkable distance away from their homes without adult supervision strikes me as absolutely bizarre. (I don't have kids, though. But I do know that violent crime has gone down since I was a kid. Seriously--why aren't people raising their kids to do stuff like play outside?)

Now, I'll admit that some of the ways kids in my day were raised might have been ill-advised. I will admit I played with matches, threw rocks, ate Rio Snappers on a dare, jumped off of second-story porches onto hard-ass lawns, and had monumental schoolyard fights where faces were rubbed with snowballs and permanent scars were received. But this helped me get that being older meant sometimes dealing with consequences. I was followed by a presumed perv from a card shop up Rising Sun Ave three blocks from my house when I was nine--ducked him. I got knocked over by a sixth-grader when I was in second grade and chased his ass with a piece of ice like the size of my head and plastered him.

When I was growing up, you went outside the house to grow that sense of the "hairy eyeball" that told you when things were going pear-shaped and you needed to run home to Mom. You did not stay indoors on your ass and look at your Mom or Dad to lead you about all your little life.  There is something about this "free-range kid" thing that sounds pretty much exactly like my childhood.  I do not see why kids are scooped up by police as if being a kid on the street is a problem, or why, if they are a problem, they aren't being taken directly to their parents for discipline.

I don't know if this makes me old--but this dynamic is really weird to me. Aren't there any kids anymore who at least walk themselves to school or the local park from the age of nine or so like it's no big deal? Or are all the kids these days setting up play-dates and having fixed events like karate or Little League or scouting or whatever, instead of getting their knees dirty the old fashioned way?

* The Crest Movie Theatre was where I saw Star Wars, Grease, The Muppet Movie, Superman 1 & 2, and Ghostbusters.  By the time Ice Pirates came out, I was sometimes going down to the Crest on my own.  I also sometimes spent allowance money at the Dairy Queen a block down. I remember Rings Drugs and Oskars Drugs a block up the Ave like they were yesterday.  They were the kind of old-school drug stores where Ludens Cough drops and Trident gum fought for space with Philly Blunts and Dutch Masters cigars. It was a different time.

2 comments:

Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, it's an interesting post, and a subject we talk about in our house from time to time. Our experience is like yours in our own region. As children we would leave the house after breakfast and get home by suppertime. My friends and I would roam far and wide with our BB guns, miles into wild terrain.

I asked the gracious and lovely Alicia what she thought about your post, and she said, “ the difference between democracy and a police state is that democracy takes longer to phase in a police state.”

Peggy Noonan once said that we used to rely on our culture to help raise our children, and now our culture is something we have to protect our children from.

In the old days there might have secretly been some pedophile priests, but we've recently had an epidemic of pedophile priests and lavender seminaries. In the old days school teachers rarely even saw students as sexual beings. The social sanction against getting hot for your 13 year old student was so severe and pervasive that people rarely even thought in those terms. Today we've had an epidemic of female school teachers bopping little kids. We now have Amber's Law and special alerts to deal with the scourge of little kids being abducted off the streets and molested, tortured and killed.

Clearly we're living in a different world. Vixen, you are like the g&l Alicia and I -- have never had kids. As a consequence, I have noticed that we stay a little further behind the curve when trying to grasp these dynamics. I think kids force parents into realizing a lot of stuff going on in the culture and taking the cautious side in the arbitration. Alicia and I realize that it takes us longer to realize what the parents are having to deal with.

We have talked in the past about the propensity for seeing entropy as progress. And a lot of the stuff we're talking about is ultimately cultural. In our opinion my generation, the baby boomers, broke a lot of windows to let in some much needed air. However, in doing so we failed to realize that once the windows were broken, you couldn't fix them again, and you no longer had protection from storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

Needless to say, this is all very consistent with the counter-initiation, and we should be seeing even more of it. Qabbalistically speaking, we have to remember that every time you kick off the energy of a sephirah, you automatically kick off the qlipothic dynamic at the same time.

Vixen Strangely said...

The social sanction against getting hot for your 13 year old student was so severe and pervasive that people rarely even thought in those terms. Today we've had an epidemic of female school teachers bopping little kids.

I find the mindset that permits this completely bizarre--we are so open talking about the wrongness of pedophilia, and yet these seem incapable of seeing that they should see help--not relationships with minors!

Barbra Walters recently gave an interview with Mary Kay LaTourneau, who married the young man she had raped. It's an astounding double-standard to me that the female teacher/boy relationship is almost shrugged off--in the reversed situation, I think there would be considerably more outrage.