I am 21 years old. I am just old enough to have grown up in a time where playing outside was really the only form of entertainment we had, plus my mother wouldn’t buy me video games.
Someday, way far into the future, if I ever decide to birth a child, adopt a child, foster a child, or end up with a child from some dead family member, I will encourage them to play outside as well.
I just moved to Piqua, fresh out of college, have an apartment all to myself, and everyday when I get home from work, I am greeted by the (I assume) joyful screams of children playing.
A part of me is very happy they are playing outside. In the age of video games and Netflix, these children are actually getting outside and doing something, and I think that’s great.
The big “but” here is that I never see these children (probably age 5 to 13 or so) being supervised. Whatsoever.
One of the days I was moving in last month I witnessed them chasing each other around the yard with a giant pair of hedge clippers.
On another occasion they were playing a big game of softball back there and I was certain a ball was going to come crashing through one of my windows. Just the other day they hit the side of my house with a football, making a very loud thud that I assumed at the time had to be the house crumbling down or something. I had the fantasy of creeping out my door and shaking my fist at them like those old people in the movies do.
Now maybe this is something I should have checked out before moving in, but I honestly don’t really mind kids. No, they aren’t my favorite, but I enjoy the sounds of them screaming because it reassures me society is actually still out there when I have been sitting on my couch watching Netflix for hours.
When it gets dark the screams usually stop and they all retreat back into their homes, but it all really makes me wonder why their parents aren’t providing them with any supervision; why are hedge clippers just sitting out for them to be chasing each other with?
My mother would look at unsupervised children and tell me, “Their parents must not love them.” When I was really little, and didn’t know any better, I would tell my friends that their parents didn’t love them whenever their parents let them do something mine wouldn’t let me do. It didn’t make me very popular, but I’d like to think I turned out slightly normal.
Another factor that needs to be taken into consideration is the fact that it’s summer and these kids’ parents are probably at work and just trust them to roam freely in the expanse of yard that is located behind mine and the neighbors’ houses. I had a mom who didn’t work for many years and then got a job where she could work from home, so I was constantly supervised.
These are the things that go on inside my 21-year-old head, even though the added responsibility and money that comes with child care are something many years in the future for me.
I was a kid not too long ago, wait, I still consider myself a kid. I am constantly needing adults that are “adulting” better than me.
I know how rotten kids can be. Maybe sending them to their grandparent’s house or to camp would be a good use of their time during the summer. Get them involved in supervised activities at the parks each day.
I could list 50 different activities, about half of which are free, that could keep those kids from chasing each other with hedge clippers most of the summer.
Now sure, transportation or money might be an issue, but anything can be figured out with a little effort. I try not to be naive or judge people about things like this, but maybe some parents just cannot figure out how to let their kids have fun and have them be supervised at the same time.
I really would like to continue to hear the screams of children, but I would like the added comfort of seeing someone keep an eye out for them so I know they are screams of joy and not terror. I don’t want my backyard to be turned into a crime scene when one of them accidentally stabs another with a yard tool.