I was recently preparing for a talk that I was to give on childhood obesity. One of the things that struck me in my reading on the topic was the fact that childhood obesity was a relatively new phenomenon, something that has dramatically increased over the past 15 years or so.
In preparing, I couldn’t help reflect on my own childhood. (I know it was in an era when Abe Lincoln was splitting wood for log cabins). On weekends and virtually every day after school we tended to venture in to this zone called “the outside.” We played street sports and argued with each other – you know, “You’re out.” “No I’m not,” sort of stuff.
Mothers were never in the mix, except when they shouted at the top of their lungs to come back in the house for lunch. (After wolfing down a nutritious white bread and bologna sandwich we bolted back into that outside zone.) Dads were rarely seen, too. They weren’t hovering or playing with us. We argued and played without adults.
The other day, I was talking to a mom about her 8 year old child’s behavior. (While the mom talked the kid stayed in the waiting room absorbed in his new iPad. When I greeted them, he barely looked up.) When the mom later talked about her concerns, I said something like, “Well, you know, he’s indulged and modern.”
The mom laughed at that phrase. She knew it was true.
Rarely playing outside, this 8 year old was on the path.
Life was easy.
You suck up to the electronic soothing device and don’t sweat it. Who wants to bother arguing with other kids whether you are “out” or “safe?”
That was so yesterday.