Capturing Youth

August 1, 2008

While face down on the massage table this morning I wondered where society is headed if they can’t take time for themselves.

Picture the SUV-momma dropping kids at recitals and soccer practice and finishing school and frisbee golf lessons. Then picture the way we entertained ourselves as children.

That’s right, we sharpened a popsicle stick for 47 straight minutes, AFTER we took the time to actually lick the frozen treat down to the wooden support posts.

These days, kids bite everything. Popsicles, ice cream cones, their teachers. And it’s all considered fine behavior because it’s not correct to reprimand a child anymore. Scolding a child might damage him for life and give him poor self-esteem.

At the heart of my prone introspection was my recent participation in a scooter club scavenger hunt. I’ve organized scavenger hunts before and find them interesting and stimulating.

What could be better than a journey to places physical and intellectual to solve problems and find treasures? But these little adventures are becoming another activity that takes too long for many people.

Why put in the effort to find a geocache or take a photo in front of a statue if you can kill a bad guy on PS3 with less effort?

Why even interact with other kids if you can lose yourself in a video game or television show?

We had a similar distraction when we were kids, but it was called the neighborhood. It was a great big game-board in which you played with other pieces to solve problems, develop relationships and have fun.

Paul Leonardo and I used to dissect the Hardy Boys’ mystery books and then pretend we were solving our own mysteries.

Other kids raced Big Wheels around or got permission to take bikes to the orchard for a bag of candy or an apple.

Are those days gone or can’t I see them from my perch upon 43 years of experience?

Is this what it feels like to be jaded about youth and disappointed in society?

Maybe neither. But regardless of the games we play, or played, and the communities we live in, we have to remain aware of the opportunities available to the young. You can’t go back to that time, or if you do the people staring at you just think you’re a creepy guy on a scooter.

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