Reflections on Childhood

One of the things we do far too little of these days is let kids be kids.

Yes, I know. We also simultaneously don't teach kids responsibility.

They're not all that far apart though. In a very real sense, the former directly leads to the latter.

Look at a playground these days. They've gotten a little more interesting of late, but singsets, tall slides, and "monkey bars" as well as large climbing frames and domes people my age knew well in elementary and middle school are just gone, along with diving boards.

Can't have mommy sue because Suzy got hurt, y'know.

Nevertheless, there is a growing resistance to the oppression of "play dates" and helicopter moms, including the free range movement, based on the observation that sure, kids may get hurt messing around with stuff, but if they don't have a chance to take risks on their own, and learn to manage them, to judge their skill vs risks, and so forth, they'll not have the skills to judge risks and take them as adults.

In a way, it hearkens back to the boundariless existence of globalists - everything is a safe space, so we don't learn to recognize what, and more importanly who, isn't. To recognize danger and predators - so everything is a danger and predators are omnipresent, especially those who do not camouflage themseleves signalling the "correct" beliefs.

So, things I took for granted as a kid.

As early as kindergarten - walking back several blocks from school, alone.

In elementary school - hiking over several blocks for teeball, or the playground. Going around the entire block our house was on. Disappearing to a friends house for several hours up to a block away. Having a bunch of legos, tinger toys, spirographs, etc. with small pieces that "could have choked" me. Ditto the shooting missiles in Colonial vipers, shogun warriors (Japanese toys originated with some of the earliest anime cartoons like Mazinger), games of Risk, etc. ad nauseum.

Mowing the lawn.  In fireant country - and some of the mounds were larger across than the mower.

Playing with a friend's BB gun - and making short work of a plastic model of the USS Arizona.

Riding a bike on roughly 2 miles of road in our development, including making use of dirt lots and natural hills/etc. for dirt biking. Playing tag and hide-and-seek on said bikes and roads. Walking to the 7-11 nearly 2 miles away for candy and slurpees. Beating each other up with bamboo sticks as swords. Playing dodgeball, including the use of frisbees, "Tron" style. Helping my grandad build a largish canvas kayak/canoe, and singlehandedly paddling it along a couple miles of shoreline looking at stingrays and fish. Assembling model planes including extensive work with solvents putting together a balsa fly-by-wire. I failed to assemble that well enough on my try, but I did do a good job on plastic models, and did get the engine running.

In high school, spending a summer chainsawing a bunch of trees felled for our new house, and splitting them by hand using a maul. Learning to start, stoke, and cook with a woodstove. Tiling and carpeting a basement. Biking all over an even larger community, and summers spent on swim team. Running around the wooded houses of our cul-de-sac playing flashlight tag in the dark.

The end result was that we gained a sense of what was safe, and wasn't. We learned when and where to be wary. We learned what we could, and could not do, and became damn well aware that we could get hurt. And get hurt I did. Several cuts from mishandling knives, a couple falls and spills from overdoing bike jumps with bikes not suited for such things, a very nasty tuble from a tire giving out on a turn at the bottom of a long hill and I had to carry the bike home. I still have the scars from that one despite the roll I tucked into. Nevermind getting caught on fish hooks, etc.

Or the time we destroyed a hornets nest. Managed not to get stung but did get chased back into the house.

We had a chance to see what worked, and what did not. We learned quickly that playing stupid games got you, as the saying went, stupid prizes. We learned what boundaries reality would let us push, and which ones would push back. We learned to tolerate a little pain, and bumps and bruises.

No one had to "make" us responsible because we couldn't just turn around and yell for mommy and daddy. We had "skin in the game", and learned to protect it.

And we had a hell of a lot of fun.

Yeah, even the wood chopping, though I didn't appreciate that as much until the end of the summer.

About Last Redoubt

Ex nuke mechanic, jack of all trades.