Every once in a while Chuck and I reminisce about how good we had it as youngsters. Some of our best experiences were those without the intrusion of parents. We both were allowed to experience life and freedoms that kids today don’t have.
Chuck was raised in cities, like Richmond, Knoxville and Jacksonville; and I was raised in a small rural town. But both of us ran free. We were just expected back home in time for supper; and if we were wandering out of our range, we had to check back first with our parents.
It was a wonderful sort of freedom. We spent hours making our own forts in the woods, fishing in ponds, playing in pick up games, and just generally hanging out with the neighborhood kids. Those were special times.
Chuck said that the pick up games are what he remembered most fondly. The pick-up game is a game spontaneously started by a group of kids. Chuck said that the kids in his neighborhood knew that generally there would be a game going on when the kids were out of school. Sometimes it was in a local park or a school playground within walking distance.
He said that there was no referee or adult present, so the kids made their own rules and refereed themselves. The total number of players was always different with sometimes more than normal and sometimes less. They played baseball, dodge ball, basketball, and football this way.
Kids were chosen for each team, and he remembers being chosen last and working harder to be chosen earlier in the lineup. He said that he threw many a ball at a concrete wall in the neighborhood just to get more practice.
We did the same in my neighborhood in Monticello, but we did it in an old pecan grove across the street from my home. A couple of the trees died, and we used the large open area to play. There was always a gang of kids over there.
I just read a rather long, but good article from a young woman who had the amazing opportunity of growing up in both the US and Estonia. She experienced two types of parenting cultures and talks about their differences. Chuck and I wondered if growing up in Estonia was a little like growing up in the 50s and 60s here in the US.
Read here what she had to say. It is entitled “What Living in the USSR as a Kid Taught Me about Parenting.”
So how was it in your neighborhood? Did you have helicopter parents or were they stealth parents like mine? Mine were always there, but they just mostly watched from afar.