I love it when others agree with me…

Lately I seem to be writing a lot about finding other folks out there who agree with me. Well, this post will be nothing new.

I ran across an article today by Mary Laine that gets the big thumbs-up from me. When I look out at the world that kids inhabit today and compare it to the one I lived in as a youngster I’m befuddled. Patton Oswalt blames the whole thing on hippie parents. He says that because hippie parents were too permissive their kids grew up to be terrifyingly boring and systematically sucked the fun out of the world. He blames them for kids being unable to ride a bike or a skateboard without wearing a helmet and/or pads on their knees and elbows, which is just one symptom of the lunatic world that we’ve forced children to inhabit today.

It’s very easy to start to sound like a curmudgeon if you vocally compare the childhood those of us over 30 had with the way kids live today. At 10 years old I could pretty much ride my bike wherever I wanted, so long as I could get back home in time for dinner. At 11 I rode the bus to Berkeley with my friends to go record shopping and to ogle the wack-jobs who wandered around Telegraph Avenue. But today if you told your neighbors that you’d let your 10 year old spend the day riding his bike, unsupervised, hither and yon you’d probably get reported to child welfare services as an irresponsible parent.

When did we decide that kids were so fragile? Granted, they aren’t invincible and there are hazards all over the place, but those same hazards were just as present and we were just as prone to injury when we were kids, weren’t we?

What worries me most is that I don’t know what these kids are going to be like when they grow up. Are they going to revel in their freedom and rush to make up for all the risk-taking they never did as kids or will they be timid and fearful of the world around them once their parents aren’t there to shelter them from risk?

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