Tuesday, January 09, 2007

In an Ideal World....


Weeks ago I read a very nostalgic post about how our childhoods were richer, more action packed and freer than the childhoods our children are having now.
I was sure Pam had written the post but I can't find it over there. Anyway it made me smile with a tear in my eye when the poster described all those days so full of possibilities when we ran about free as the wind unconfined by parental worry and we didn't have mobile phones either...
We roamed in twos or threes much further than our parents knew, raced around building sites and cemeteries and played chicken on the railway lines. Yes really. I've never told that to my mother who would quite likely die if she knew. I know I would.

I've given my children the best upbringing I could with as much freedom as I could but it's true they've never taken off on a summer morning with a sandwich in their pockets and the day laid out like a map before them. I've always been there in the background hovering...

So.....last week I was having coffee with a group of friends from the village. We all have big children of about the same age and, of course, they're all of the age where we can't protect them anymore even if they were willing to be protected and, of course, they laugh away our advice and concerns because danger is a story to them having been picked up and dropped off all their sweet lives.
Then we mums took a trip down the nostalgia route and it transpired that out of the 5 of us, an American, two French, a Belgian and me, we had all as children been offered lifts by strangers.
Fortunately all of us had run away. And I never told my mother about that either but I don't know why. Looking back I suppose I realised that if I told then my days of freedom would be numbered.
Times are different now. There are more people, more cars, more possible dangers so I wrapped mine up in cotton wool and now I wonder how Boychild will manage when he leaves us this coming Autumn.

13 comments:

Shaz said...

Make that "6" Australia, how surreal and how scary.
We didnt know the real dangers until now and our children dont fully comprehend either until later. Funny how things go full circle, not so funny there are still strangers in cars,,,,,Shiver

Pam said...

I did have that post but I deleted it and now I can't remember why I did!

Each generation seems to have greater obstacles...of course bringing more severe risks to the kids and deeper worry for the parents. : (

tut-tut said...

That photo captures exactly how it feels to be a teenager, doesn't it? And yes, a stranger offered to "take me home" when I was about 12.

L and her friends were walking alone (how did that happen?) on the bridge over the river when a "scary man" approached them. "We're not allowed to talk to strangers," L's friend primly told him. And he went away!

Gigi said...

I remember a man 'flashing' at me in the park but I didn't have a clue was he was showing me. On the other hand, a kind dinner lady once bought me an ice-cream when she saw me in town and I walked all the way home holding it at arm's length because I'd been told never to accept sweets from strangers...

Ah! Those were the days...

Open Grove Claudia said...

I don't have kids so I don't think it's fair for me to respond.

What I learned as a therapist is this: there are always big red honking signs when something is wrong with a kid. The difference between those who get better and those who don't are parents who care enough to notice - not what happens to the child.

I'm simply not brave enough to have children

cityfarmer said...

I've been wondering the same thing about #3 who will soon be 22.

sarala said...

You are right that life is more complicated for the kids but that it wasn't as innocent back then as we'd like to believe. As a kid I was offered a ride, saw a flasher (I knew what it was he was sharing with me), and been chased by a guy carrying a knife. I never told my mom about the third because she would have curtailed my freedom. I guess I just was careful and lucky that nothing really bad happened in that way. But risk was there.

Alexandra G said...

I work as a high school counselor and am constantly amazed at the insane dangers these kids are exposed to every day in the States in big cities, far too much for them to appropriately process at their developmental stage. It makes me terribly sad that the direction society has moved in increasingly will rob children of a relatively carefree childhood. Of course there were always dangers but were they as common and lethal as they are now?

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Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

Wonderful post ... as a mother with older children (and younger too, thank goodness!) I too have thought of the changes between my childhood and my childrens & feel like the dangers are so much more real (but maybe they were all along and we were just lucky.)

Anyway, good to think about. I love that picture you included with this post!! Brilliant.

Good thoughts for Boychild and prayers that he has the wisdom and strength to make the right choices.

Much peace & love, JP

Ani said...

Great post! I don't have children yet. But I do have a sister 8 years younger then I. She's in her mid 20's. And I still find myself telling her things to watch our for and be to aware of. Even now she's moving to a new city. I just said what I could think of. And hope for the best. We all survived. I remember my long drives across county by myself before cell phones and somehow I made it! So we have to tell them whatever we can so we feel good and let them go out into the big world :)

angela said...

Thanks for your input. I was panicking a little because I wondered if by protecting them I'd actually robbed them of their ability to protect themselves.
I was definitely more street-wise.
Angela

Doug (from Jura, France) said...

I sometimes wonder how much more dangerous it is nowadays, and how much it is just that we are more aware of it. When I was a kid there were pediophiles and so on, but we never knew they existing. Now we do know, so our children are better prepared, but also less free.

One of my reasons for moving from UK to a small village in France is to try to get away from that. Also, with 10 hectares of land, there is tons of room for the kids to play around the house, without having to go to a dodgy park.