Playing Out no More

I had a fabulous childhood in the village of Scarisbrick in England. I have memories of camping and fishing and riding my bike and doing all the usual kids stuff. Holidays by the sea were spent hunkered over in rock pools looking for star fish and crabs. School holidays were spent having adventures with friends, making dens in the wood opposite my house and getting up to mischief, like painting our garden shed with the expensive car undercoat I found in the garage.

It's very important to me that Jack and Danny do all those things and have a childhood full of fun. It seems very sad though that they'll not enjoy the same outdoor freedom that Craig and I did. You don't really see kids playing here, mostly because parents are scared witless of paedophiles and abductors and gangs. All the horrible things that were probably around years ago but for some reason are at the forefront of every parents mind these days.

Last weekend we were walking down our little snicket and a man came walking the other way, acted a bit dodgy and then followed us back down. I was whispering frantically to Craig to keep an eye on him and Craig was being calm and saying he was probably looking for our resident deer. By the time we got to the end of the snicket he was almost upon us, so I veered off up someones driveway, as if we lived in the house. I would have felt stupid if it had turned out to be his house! When he got level with us I said "you go ahead" and made it pretty clear I didn't want him walking behind us, and he looked right at Jack and tried to strike up a conversation. Jack started chattering to him so I said "that's enough, let the gentleman go" and he sloped off. Note how I used the term sloped instead of walked? I'm trying to make him into a paedophile aren't I?

The poor guy was probably out for an evening stroll then got home and said to his family "I met the most paranoid and obnoxious woman I have ever met!

So needless to say, the boys will unfortunately have strict limits on "playing out" but we'll make sure they have fun. Here he is strawberry picking with me & Gina last weekend. He loved it, especially seeing all the caterpillars and bugs. He's bug-mad.


I can just imagine how you feel Pam. Each successive generation seems to get less and less freedom. I probably had a lot more freedom than you did and my kids had a lot more than the young do now. Such a pity. But your little ones will have fun and learn to cope with the big wide world. Just as long as they are safe and happy. A x
mountainear said…
My brothers and I were little savages really - roaming the fields and lanes, climbing trees and making dens. My boys less so - fewer opportunities in suburban Manchester - but I think they were still freer than children now. They even walked to school without me from about age 7! It seems strange now to see a small/young child out alone - and a mother's protective hackles rise. We're all geared up for 'stranger danger'.

Your boys will have a good childhood, it will just be different.

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