We were a bunch of savages when we were kids. We were half naked practically all Summer long, we played outside until it was dark, we swam in creeks and ponds, and we caught snakes. We camped out under the stars, ate candy we stuffed in our pockets, and drank water right out of the hose. We threw dirt clods at one another and meant it, and we also wound up with cuts, bruises, BB gun wounds, and on occasion got hurt when we wrecked a bike or fell out of a tree. From the time classes ended in May until it let back in when September rolled around, there wasn’t a time I didn’t have some open wound on my legs or arms or both. Scars were badges of honor to be compared with the wounds of other kids, and the scar I wore on one of my knees was one of the more impressive ones. The scar on my finger from the bite of a foot long alligator was also envied, quite strongly, and you knew you were someone when other kids came up and asked to see your scars.
When I was a kid I promised myself I wouldn’t grow up to be one of those adults who didn’t like kids, but here we are; I simply dislike children.
A couple of years ago I managed a construction project that stretched out over seven miles and went through many sub-divisions and side roads. We had quite a few miles of drainage pipes and that sort of thing. We spent nearly two years on the construction, and in that two years, we never saw the first child outside playing. There wasn’t a bicycle tire track or a barefoot print anywhere near any of the areas I would have been knee deep in as a child. I never saw kids outside playing ball or hide and go seek. There were a couple of ponds in the area and two good sized lakes. I never saw a kid near any of these in the light of day. I didn’t see any kids mowing the grass or pulling weeds in a flower bed or raking leaves.
Other than people don’t teach their kids as many manners as I’ve taught my dogs, I think part of the problem is my inner child doesn’t like these kids. None of them have ever fallen off a bike at top speed on a dirt road and got a mouth full of sand and road rash. None of them have ever felt a snake slip over their leg in a creek. None of them ever walked barefoot two miles into town to see an afternoon movie for a dime. These pale and overprotective creatures wouldn’t have survived the kids I hung out with. Being physically tough, immune to heat and cold, being hard enough to push a mower in the middle of the day, in the middle of July, and was not only common, it was expected.
I cannot remember seeing a kid pushing a mower in the last ten years. Honestly.
If you’ve got a kid that’s a hard playing, hardworking, bat swinging, ball kicking, tree climbing, sun burned little savage, sound off. Let me know there’s not only hope out there, but life as well.