Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Growing up.


                                      

I'm heartened to see that there seems to be a world-wide movement afoot for children to be allowed to grow-up without the interference of the bloody mamby-pamby elf-n-safety brigade.

Playing outside, getting knees dirty, climbing trees, fishing for tidlers in a nearby pond, running with dogs, building a secret cabin, making dams in streams, going for a bike-ride with friends, tying an old tyre to a rope from a tree, choosing between being cowboys or Indians, having a 'spud gun' in your pocket; these were all healthy every day activities not so long ago. Now the interfering busy-bodies have outlawed 'normal' children's games; they aren't even allowed to play 'conkers' any more.

My move to France in 1972, was heavily influenced by wanting my own children (just 2 of them at the time) to grow up with open countryside as their playground. We had a huge stone hay-and-chicken-filled barn for them to have adventures in, woodland all around that seemed to go on for ever, and plenty of wild or domestic animals to fool around with.

Just yesterday Lady Magnon came across a young German family. In a mad frenzy, the mother had grabbed her two screaming small girls, as they'd totally PANICKED on seeing Monty and Bok calmly walking towards them, in the distance, ON THEIR LEADS. Two of the friendliest dogs you could imagine.

We discussed the incident over lunch, and thought how very sad it was that the two little girls didn't run over to greet the dogs, as most would. OK, had they been a couple of loose 'pit-bulls' we could have understood, but Monty is a LABRADOR for god's sake; a living Teddy Bear. It was as if these poor girls had been cocooned in some evil urban fantasy world, where everything spelt DANGER.

My own children always had bandages on their knees, scuffed elbows, and the occasional bruise somewhere or other; but that, to me, demonstrated that they were doing things, pushing themselves, and experiencing new activities (not permanently indoors in front of an iPad). They also had a dog who followed them everywhere; they were simply growing up, and were encouraged to BE CHILDREN.

N.B. Above photo is of my grandson Finn playing with Teddy Bear 'Monty'.


27 comments:

  1. Many asked me how I could possibly allow my children to grow up in a place like Angola. Granted, the place has its problems but for kids, it is heaven. Dominic learnt to ride a Yamaha PW 50 at four and a car at nine. He shot his first .22 aged ten and helped me gut a gazelle soon after. He is doing well at school (especially in Biology and Chemistry) and wants to become a commercial pilot. Alex spends all his non school time running around getting up to mischief with the dogs running alongside. I am sure they will be better balanced adults as a result.

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    1. Wrapping kids in cotton wool and 'protecting' them from the real world is amount to child-abuse in my book. Let them breathe.

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  2. Hear hear! I absolutely agree and do wonder if that's why society's going to the dogs (no pun intended!!)

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    1. In the UK the decline started when Labour dictated that team games developed a 'winners and losers' mentality, and decided to outlaw them. I think the tide is now moving, and even the barmy brigade are beginning to see that they were wrong. Let's hope for better and wiser things.

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  3. Excellent post Cro - I couldn't agree more but we lived in different times when innocent pleasures were the norm because we didn't have much else - progress isn't always for the better in my view.

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  4. I agree with all that has been said. However it is difficult to equate mischievous country children with the feral little sods roaming inner cities.

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    1. I don't entirely agree with you here, Adrian. There are plenty of inner city boys sports clubs etc, that are crying out for members. Sadly, many prefer to either hang around street corners, or sit in front of a screen.

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    2. Girls, of course, are usually much more sensible.

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  5. Dog are made for boys
    Every one should belong to the other

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    1. A small boy and a scruffy dog..... meant for each other!

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  6. Couldn't agree more!
    My granddaughter (and her older cousins years back) and her friends love to come here to camp and play and swing across our river on rope swings. Food burnt on a bonfire is particularly delicious. Then back to suburbia to be wrapped in cotton wool and be organised to bu****y with worthy clubs and lessons.
    Gill

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    1. I love seeing towny kids let loose in the countryside (as long as they know what to do).

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  7. I bought my house in the same area I grew up in, in fact a lot of us returned to raise our family's here. The knowledge has been past down to the next generation of the best hedges to build dens under, the oak tree to swing from, the fields & streams. My children always returned scuffed but happy, in fact the youngest still does. They never however had the same freedom to go to the river by themselves!

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  8. I was fortunate to be allowed to buy my first Swiss army knife at 10. And was used to running around the hillsides that abutted our house in Caracas with a machete. We made carbide cannons out of bamboo and every likely tree in the neighborhood had a tree house in it by the time we were done. The horses that occasionally escaped their stables we rode bareback with only a makeshift rope bridle. It was a delightful time and I still have all my fingers and eyes. Other parents were horrified. I think so much of these modern day misplaced and unreasonable fears come from entitled pretend erudite parents that themselves expect to be coddled and provided for by the state.

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  9. I feel sorry for the children I see around me in the city...including my own grandchildren. I had such a wonderful chidhood.

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  10. There are no more children, just adults reliving their lives through their offspring.
    During summer holidays we left the house as soon as we had breakfast and didn't come home till dark.

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  11. The world has changed because people are taught to fear almost everything. It is so sad. I grew up with innocence and so did my children. We had great childhoods and had adventures and survived.

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  12. When we were kids (in Lincolnshire countryside) we would disappear in the summer holidays, straight after breakfast - off on our bikes, jam sandwiches in the saddle bag, bottle of cold tea, and a sense of adventure. We learnt to swim in the river with no adult anywhere near, we ran wild and enjoyed every minute of it. Now, here in the countryside, I never see children out on their own playing. There are footpaths through our fields - never a child on them. Sad.

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    1. That sounds much like my own childhood in Surrey.

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  13. At my current location, there's still a sense of kids allowing to be kids. They play together, and the street in front of my house is particularly flat, so two boys about 12, decided it was the perfect place to practice their skateboard jumps. Now that they've perfected the jumps, they've opted for hillier terrain, altough they still wave to me when they ride past on their bikes.

    Lots of places to swim nearby in the summer, and boats and rafts of all kinds, captained by kids. There's also a large hill where one can ski, snowboard, sled, and go tubing. All ages are seen there.

    Of course, they, unlike my generation, have cell phones so can immediately call or be called. We would hear our parents' voices calling us home for supper, and if we were not within earshot, we sometimes heard other parents calling for their children, and realised we needed to nip along smartly if we were to get home on time.

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  14. There were children like that when we we young. We simply called them 'fraidy cats and continued our games.

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  15. All I know is that I wouldn't want to be raising children today. They would probably hate me for not buying them iPhones and iPads. Mine, who are in their 30s now, went out and played! Whether they liked it or not. Ha
    Great post, Cro.
    Oh, and girls need a dog by their side too. ;)

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  16. what a lovely photo.
    Yes todays kids should enjoy the childhood we spent, wandering the fields with a dog, drinking from the river and not returning home til supper.

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  17. Bureaucracy gone daft! totally agree with what Kath's saying.

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  19. I had such a great childhood roaming around Aldeburgh playing at the brickworks making boats going on the river leaving the house after breakfast and back only for food. Being called in just as it was getting dark. It saddens me my own children can't have this freedom though I wouldn't want them to do some of the things I did. They can't even play ball outside in the road (quiet cul de sac not m25) without somebody moaning or telling them to play somewhere else. Can't build dens private property or the woods have all disappeared for houses. Such a shame goodness knows what it will be like when they have children.

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