Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Encouraging Physical Activity
My kids are quite active. My daughter plays basketball during the colder months and has taken up softball this summer. She still likes to shoot basketball in the driveway whenever possible. Plus she has her usual running around activities. My 13 year old son plays football, skateboards, bikes, plays paintball, and picks on his sister. I can't remember the last time they played a video game. It's been 2-3 months at least.
Perhaps much of this is inherited or learned through modeling, neither their mother nor I sit still for too long unless we're dead tired. Maybe if kids don't see parents sitting around they won't sit around either. Or maybe it's in the genes.
Probably it's a combination of things. Air conditioning makes it more pleasant to stay inside during hot days. Many people are addicted to electronic entertainment of some sort. Small yards make is harder to play outside and enjoy it.
One reason I bought the house where I currently live is the large yard. We can throw ball, play football, plant a vegetable garden, fish, etc. I place a high priority on physical activity because I enjoy it. It seems too many people have lost the ability to enjoy physical exertion. And, now we have to have special programs to get kids to do what kids in every previous generation did naturally, be physically active and play outside.
Do you remember when you were a kid?
According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 60's, 70's and early 80's probably shouldn't have survived, because our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint, which was promptly chewed and licked.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to play with pans.
When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip flops and
fluorescent 'spokey dokeys' on our wheels.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags - riding in the passenger seat was a treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle and it tasted the same.
We ate chips, bread and butter pudding and drank fizzy pop with sugar in it, but we were never verweight because we were always outside playing
We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no
one actually died from this.
We would spend hours building go-karts out of scraps and then went top speed down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We would leave home in the morning and could play all day, as long as we were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us and no one minded.
We did not have Playstations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. No 99 channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, and no Internet chat rooms. We had friends, we went outside and found them.
We played elastics and street rounders, and sometimes that ball really hurt.
We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones but there were no lawsuits.
We had full on fistfights but no prosecution followed from other parents.
We played knock-and-run and were actually afraid of the owners catching us.
We walked to friend's homes.
We also, believe it or not, WALKED to school; we didn't rely on mummy or daddy to drive us to school, which was just round the corner.
We made up games with sticks and tennis balls.
We rode bikes in packs of 7 and wore our coats by only the hood.
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law.
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
and now look at them
I was born in 1951 which makes me an old man in my daughter's eyes. But I did everything you describes and then some. Indeed, I look back and wonder how I survived sometimes.
In doing all this we learned a lot about life also. I think this may be why some of today's kids are so clueless, no real life experiences.
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