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  1. #1
    Joe Griffin's Avatar
    Joe Griffin Guest

    Default Life observation

    Driving through a subdivision (twice today) of approximately 200 homes today, a startling observation arose.

    Although it was a little after midday, on a sunny bright Saturday, (not too cold) winter's day, in yard after yard, I did not see one child out playing.

    Not one. I know for a fact there are hundreds of children in this neighborhood, as I have seen them in the summer months.

    So, I am left to surmise that they are indoors absorbed in video games, on the Internet, or tethered to some electronic entertainment device.

    I remember as a child staying out till I was soaked to the skin, sledding, building snow forts, playing tackle football. Then changing up after some hot chocolate and heading back out till dinnertime.

    Kind of made me sad to think about the newest generation.

    Not trying to ring my own bell here, but I prohibited video games in our home for the last ten years, did not allow TV's in the bedroom, nor land line phones when they were actually still viable. When my kids turned 16, I relaxed the rules, and surprisingly they didn't even pine after what they didn't have.

    Instead of giving in to the "pressure" I built a full court basketball court (lighted) from scratch, cleared a 100 yard football field, and constructed a mini replica of Fenway Park with the Green Monster for my kids to play wiffle ball in. They used it all for years.

    My kids are all fit and healthy and enjoy the outdoors. I also have one on a full football scholarship next year.

    Fenway is gone now, the football field has gone to seed, and the hoops stand alone and unused, a sad reminder for me that my kids are grown.

    But I take solace in the fact that I didn't buckle under to the mindless 110v babysitters.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Life observation

    Great post!

    We just returned home after leaving this morning at 8 AM! Our son had baseball tryouts and then a basketball game this afternoon. I'm sad to say our son is now upstairs and I can hear the X-Box playing on the surround sound, but it's Madden 08 so I can't fuss all that much!

    I too can recall playing out in the snow till all hours of the night. My fondest memories are of a little device that we had that would fling a conical shaped snow ball several hundred feet. I think it was called a "Snow Fling". The bullet would come out with a "Thwump" sound.

    Again, just a great post!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3

    Default Re: Life observation

    Came to the same observation here in Chicago where we have had the most snow in 20 years. Do not see kids sledding, building snowmen or forts. Ice skating has become an indoor sport for only a few. I have a pond behind my house where my children skated when it was safe. They are grown now.

    Have not seen one snowman in the neighborhood. No kids throwing snowballs at cars. Now that was fun trying to get someone to chase us.

    So I just mailed out some charcoal brickets and a carrot to my many great nephews and nieces. One packet per family marked assembly required, with instructions to send me a photo when completed.

    Hopefully a little friendly family competition will get them off the couch and out side.

    Steve Reilly
    enjoying the snow in Chicago


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Life observation

    Good post Joe. We still have a little of that activity in my town, but not as much as there should be. I own a rental property, and the other week we got a bunch of snow. There were about 12 kids sliding down the front yard across the sidewalk and into the street. It's a drag when they pack down the sidewalk because I like to keep it clear, but I was so happy to see kids out doing something I didn't even bother them about it. I even let them borrow the snow shovel to build a jump.

    Good for you on the video games and TV's in bedrooms. I know we all see young kids bedrooms with TV/DVD setups in them. I just shake my head when I see it. Yesterday at lunch in Santa Fe behind me is about a 7 or 8 year old and her mom. They are both texting people the entire time through their lunch. I guess it would be hard for the mom to say anything to the kid about manners and engaging in conversation when she's setting such a shining example.

    Where is your son playing football? We'll keep our eye out for him on EPSNU.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Life observation

    We were out driving around our neighborhood this afternoon and saw quite a few kids out riding bicycles and skate boards, or just running around and playing.

    I had not thought about it, but, yeah, it is good to see kids playing outdoors and having fun.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Life observation

    I have inspected houses in bad neighborhoods in Philadelphia where it's a beautiful sunny day outside and all the kids in the house are lying in bed watching tv. It's incredibly depressing.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Life observation

    Good post Joe.

    Take comfort in the fact you are not alone. I've got a girl and 2 boys, 15, 12, 9 respectively and we don't own an Xbox or Wii or a Commodore 64. They don't have their own cell phone or land line and can carry on a conversation with an adult (well, the 9 year old can't much)

    They play outside all of the time. I've got a basketball goal on the driveway and they somehow manage to use our sloping frontyard for football, soccer and frisbee.

    They use their imagination, don't drink cokes or eat a lot of sweets, have pretty much no body fat (wish I could say the same) and don't complain about not having all of those electro-gizmos.

    The only sad part is that there are few other boys on the block. My boys invite them out to play, but the other boys just stay inside and play video games. They rarely come outside.

    OK, I think I've broken my arm now patting myself on the back. But I just wanted to let you know---Mayberry still exists

    Bruce

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  8. #8
    Joe Griffin's Avatar
    Joe Griffin Guest

    Default Re: Life observation

    Awesome responses to my personal observation which is apparently shared by a lot of other folks. I would like to see this trend reversed, which would also reduce the amount of overweight children (and adults)

    Unfortunately, the software becomes more and more realistic, some of which I am in awe of, but I realize what a trap it is for children today.


    Moderation is the key. I am not dead set against children playing video games, or chatting, or texting, as they are the tools of a modern society.

    In fact, I think our kids may talk (electronically ie: email, text) way more than we ever did as children. That is a good thing, communication between individuals. Although silent, it is a form of relating. Some would argue it will spell the end of heart to heart, face to face interaction. Maybe so.

    Just like most life lessons, your parents and family will help mold you.


    It is up to us to guide, restrict, enforce, encourage when needed.

    But a proper balance must be struck, with very vigilant controls when children are allowed access to the superhighway, or to games, or text messaging.

    It boggles my mind when I think of how many lives have been saved by cell phones. The ability to reach people instantly in times of peril, to forewarn people of impending dangers, and other times of need.

    But on the other hand, how many have died or been exploited at the hands of Internet predators? How many children have a twisted view of the world from overexposure to violent video game content? How many have not been able to sort out the difference and shot up a school, or killed a classmate?

    These are tough times for parents. I am relieved my children are through their formative years, I don't envy the next parenting generation.

    PS Jim Robinson. My son will be attending UConn, playing tight end. He will most likely redshirt his freshman year, with a good shot at breaking into the lineup his sophomore year if he stays focused and hits the weights as directed. ESPN is in Conn. so we may see him on the tube someday. We couldn't be happier.
    Go Huskies!


  9. #9
    Jim Zborowski's Avatar
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    Default Re: Life observation

    Definately know what you're saying. Always made my boys do homework right away, made sure they watched shows that were appropriate, they played sports, etc. Now they both are graduated from engineering schools and have good jobs at civil engineering firms.
    Lady I've been with for 5 years, kids are glued to video games,or on myspace constantly. kids are older, one going to high school, two out already. Can't spell lazy, expect to be waited on.
    Really think the old way was better.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Life observation

    I too played as a child every day, when not in school, until my mother rang the dinner bell, gobbled my meal and begged to go back out side and join the gang. Our imaginations where fueled by radio shows and great books about adventurous lads. The sad fact of modern life is the giant media corporations have stolen our children's childhood and left them basically unprepared to be self reliant, hence the awful increase and dependence on medications, bionic food and water, growth hormones, and "it's not my fault syndrome." I thank God often that I’m the age I am and not starting out again.
    (know this is negative, but what I truly believe)

    Last edited by Jerry McCarthy; 02-17-2008 at 10:56 AM.
    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Life observation

    Went out this afternoon in a different direction in our neighborhood and there were about a dozen kids playing tag football in a yard, boys and girls, ranging in ages (I'm guessing) from 8 to 16 or so.

    Guess we much live in a 'special neighborhood'?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Life observation

    Speaking of tag football with both boys and girls playing how about ladies basket ball at our universities? Are not these gals awesome? I'm sure there are many high school girl teams that would have blown our boy's basketball teams off the floor. In every sport today’s kids are bigger, faster, stronger, and far better coached.

    During my high school years we had a boy's varsity swim coach whose main job was history teacher and by the way could not swim a stroke, but boy could he blow a whistle!

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Life observation

    We used to play tag football with a few girls in the neighborhood. We had this one girl who looked just like Laurie Partridge from the Partridge family show who I would tackle every time I had the chance. Ahhh... the good ole days.

    rick


  14. #14
    Kevin Barre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Life observation

    WARNING: SOAPBOX ALERT!

    I agree that too many kids today rely on electronic entertainment. When I was a kid, there was no cable TV...and what we DID watch was decided by my parents. And no TV was watched during daylight hours, no matter what the weather conditions were. If it was raining, we read a book or played games. OK, admittedly, we watched Saturday morning cartoons. But even those were over by noon or earlier. I spent most of my hours of free time outside learning about the physical world. If it was raining and I couldn't go out, I was usually reading.

    Regarding video games and electronic entertainment in general, I have a theory. Admittedly, it's just my own and I have no scientific training...so take it for what little it's worth.
    Think about this: Have you noticed how prevalent diagnoses of ADD/ ADHD are these days? Anyone ever hear of that more than 10- 15 or so years ago?

    Any number of studies have shown that the human brain is more receptive to learning certain types of material at certain ages. No matter what the type of material being learned, the best opportunities to learn all pass after adolescence. Note that I didn't say one COULDN'T learn, only that the window to learn the most easily had closed. I suspect that our kids today have brains which are not being given the chance to develop naturally. Think about it: If their brains constantly have images and sounds hurled at them via some electronic interface, what chance do they have to develop the ability to think or learn independently? It's no wonder that they have short attention spans! They've never learned to think on their own...or entertain themselves absent some electronic input.

    Scary.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Life observation

    I'll have to disagree a bit about the video games being such a problem for kids.

    I will admit that most kids spend way too much time on them and not playing outside as we did when we were kids.

    My second son played video games since he was about 3yrs. old and mastered many of them. Actually when he was 6, he was a runner up in the Nintendo World Championships and actually became a game counselor for many of the games.

    I think playing the games gave him a upper hand when it came to working with computers as his visual skills and speed on the keyboard are unbelievable. He worked as a IT tech at several jobs while in college making good money.

    At 27, besides his full time job as a CFO at a insurance company, he repairs the large arcade type machines for fun and extra cash.

    rick


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Life observation

    I spent a large part of my youth both playing outside and an equally large part glued to the TV and Atari (remember that?) and reading Archie comic books. I would have eaten Little Debbie snack cakes and other assorted crap three meals a day if it had been my choice. I never became overweight as a result or even remotely approached it during my life (I am 5'8" and weigh 170 on a heavy day with my pockets filled with loose change). I feel I am fairly intelligent and analytical and have been able to start up and build my HI business on my own with with no prior experience in running a business.

    My 4 1/2 year old son would watch TV all day if we let him and he does watch more than I like some days. But other days, aside from him watching some cartoons in the morning before school, the TV never comes on the rest of the day and he is wrapped up in his toys, books, or playing games with my wife and I. For 4 1/2, he's ridiculously smart and will likely grow up to make his parents look slow and unwitting by comparison.

    Every generation is different and grows up with different things. It is up to parents to put a cap on mindless sedantary activities and engage their kids in something more meaningful. I'm sure our parents said the same things about the stuff all of us had growing up that they didn't have as kids and thought the world was goijng to hell in a handbasket.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Life observation

    Remember the stories our parents would tell us about THEIR childhoods and how easy WE had it? (In MY day, WE used to walk to school in the snow uphill both ways...)
    I remember playing football up and down the street, but then we did not have the proliferation of organized youth sports, etc.
    It is rare for today's parent to feel comfortable with letting their children run the streets due to the fear of child predators.
    I think we tend to remember the good stuff and forget the bad when reminiscing, kind of selective memory.

    I have a 7 year old grandson that has been operating the computer for several years now (long before he could read) and will likely be much more proficient that me or his mother who grew up with a computer in the house.
    Good and bad in all generations, just different is all.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Life observation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Remember the stories our parents would tell us about THEIR childhoods and how easy WE had it? (In MY day, WE used to walk to school in the snow uphill both ways...)
    Jim,

    I heard so many of those stories growing up. My dad had one for about every moment in life.

    "We were so poor...

    that we walked to school with no shoes.

    I had one pair of jeans.

    so poor, we couldn't even pay attention.

    if I hadn't been born a boy I wouldn't have had anything to play with.

    had to go out and hunt and kill some game for dinner.

    had to go out side to the restroom.

    left school in the 7th. grade to work in the fields.

    .........................................and on and on and on and on......


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Life observation

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Jim,

    I heard so many of those stories growing up. My dad had one for about every moment in life.

    "We were so poor...

    that we walked to school with no shoes.

    I had one pair of jeans.

    so poor, we couldn't even pay attention.

    if I hadn't been born a boy I wouldn't have had anything to play with.

    had to go out and hunt and kill some game for dinner.

    had to go out side to the restroom.

    left school in the 7th. grade to work in the fields.

    .........................................and on and on and on and on......
    I think we might be related!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  20. #20
    Joe Griffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Life observation

    Jerry, I don't know if you live in a "special" neighborhood or not, but the fact that you live in the SUNSHINE state means children are more likely to play outside.

    My post really refers to winter states, and the fact that children will take the easier, indoor mode now for entertainment. Most kids here will play outside in the warmer months. I was lamenting over the children missing outside of our windows right now in the Northeast.

    Come to think of it, I would go out more often if I lived in Florida. We hunker down early in the evening. My wife breaks out the flannels if the temps fall below 40 degrees. The winters here are long and borrrring, I will be moving South in two to three years.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Life observation

    I wish we had winters like we used to when I was a kid. Snow is a rarity anymore and our yard becomes a mud pit during the winter months when the temps are above freezing (which is most of the time). My son loves to spend time in the snow. We just don't get much of it.


  22. #22
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Life observation

    Jim, Rick, Scott and many others ...

    How nice it is to reminisce. I often think about my growing up in Montana and recall the stories from my folks and how they also related to their growing up adventures and the stories they would also share about their folks. Whew ... goes back a ways.

    My grandson (he is 6) was with my wife and I over Christmas for a week and watching him on my wife's notebook PC and his dexterity of the mouse pad and all the controls to do some of his educational games was mind-boggling.

    Thank goodness he also likes to get out and "play" to get the fresh air and sunshine as well. He will also now be a "big brother" as daughter is due with another grand-baby in March.

    Jim - you know I walked 'uphill' to school in NE Montana (snow and all) as well.

    Great remembrances. !!


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Life observation

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Griffin View Post
    My post really refers to winter states, and the fact that children will take the easier, indoor mode now for entertainment. Most kids here will play outside in the warmer months. I was lamenting over the children missing outside of our windows right now in the Northeast.
    We had cousins down from Minnesota and they said their kid (about 10 I think) and the neighborhood kids play on the frozen pond behind their house all the time.

    I know back when I was 'up there' (40 miles south of Buffalo, NY) 'back then' (when I was a young kid) we all went out in the snow and played, skied, sleds, toboggans, you name it - much of the time, and there (where I live) it really 'snowed" (averaged 250 inches per year), and got 'really cold' too. But ... that was 'back then'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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