Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The day after

Now that it's all over for another year, I can share some musings on Hallowe'en .

The other day I was reading about how parents learn to let go - a little - when their kids want to trick-or-treat by themselves.  It was an interesting article until I got to the part which stated that these are kids of 12!
Now, I know  "the past is a foreign country" but, really?  These kids are wanting to go door to door for  candy?  I know that anyone who was twelve years old when I was younger (under 12) was a BIG KID.  They could do all sorts of cool stuff that I couldn't do.  But one of the things that I could do was dress up and go trick-or-treating.  It was a little-kid kind of event for us.  The only big kids who ever did this were looking for trouble, not treats.  And they didn't really dress up, either. 

Living in the city is a vastly different experience to being a kid in the country where I grew up.  I know that.  And, I know that, as I get older, I worry about all sorts of fears that I never even thought of before I was a parent.  O,r more recently, a grandparent.  My kids are all grown-up but I still can't hear a siren without thinking about where my kids are.  Not that I actually have any clue on an hourly basis as I did when they were little - mostly. 

But back to Hallowe'en.  The concerned parents were advised to make sure the kids had buddies, cell phones and a curfew.  And a further admonishment not to eat anything 'til they got home and had a parental review of the takings.  I seem to recall hearing and saying this - minus the phone - myself.  Just common sense, I think.  But apparently what was common is no longer. And the kids aren't learning it for themselves when they are young.  The message seems to be delayed years longer than necessary.  Or presented with a big fear factor.

So, my brain segue'd to a faraway time when we kids played outside for hours and hours without anyone having any real idea where we were.  Sure, we got into some scrapes but it was just part of growing up.  I vividly remember when I was nine cycling with my younger brother all of three miles very early one Saturday morning.  We were going to suss out our new house.  No one knew we were gone and I'm not sure they ever knew.  We knew the rules of the road  - or we wouldn't have had the bikes!  And, yes, there was chilly thrill of heading into the unknown.   Three years later, we were both heading off with our bikes loaded with newspapers in the early morning darkness. No adults came with us after once showing us our routes. 

Hmmm...I'm digressing again.  I'm not sure why I was shocked at the tight control of kids lives.  I know this is true these days - especially in urban areas.  Maybe it was just realizing how old the kids in question were.  And I wonder if all the safety nets keep kids from actually learning how to protect themselves.  Maybe, this is a much bigger thing than Hallowe'en freedom?

There.  Glad that's off my mind. 


Ginny said...

Don't get me started!!! When we were little, we played outside ALL day when the weather was good. Not many people locked their doors. But back then there didn't seem to be any pedophiles or child molesters. It was a kinder and gentler time. Well, maybe they were there, but with not near as much media, we were just oblivious to it and didn't know about it? No, I'm convinced there were no bad guys back then!!!! When I was a teenager, we would get teenagers of about 16 or so coming to our house for Trick-Or-Treat!!! They came much later, well after nine o' clock, and didn't pay much attention to costumes. They wanted the candy. I thought they were too old for that, but in hindsight, how I would love to see it again!!! Doing that instead of DRUGS!!!

Farm Girl said...

Well we lived in a different time I guess. I lived in the country and when school was out, I left on my horse and didn't come back until dark. No one expected me to check in, I can't even imagine doing that today though.
My Dad was involved in local politics when my children were small and people threatened their lives if he ran against the favored local candidate, so maybe it changed who I was as a parent.

I wanted to get back to you about the sweet potatoes. It might work a lady told me she was going to try it in the barrels she grows her garden in so who knows. I didn't know if it would work and it did so I had a very pleasant surprise. I am going to put sweet potatoes in jars much earlier this year than last year.
Thanks for stopping by,

Anonymous said...

Times have changed, somehow, kids grow up fast without learning as much commonsense.

J.G. said...

The piece that seems to be missing from Halloween these days is the "only go to houses where you know the family and stay away from the cranky folks" rule. That pretty much covered the whole neighborhood for me in the 60s and early 70s, but these days, who has time to get to know the neighbors? Maybe that's another reason going somewhere like the mall for trick-or-treat has become so popular. Sigh.

I, too, used to disappear on bike or foot for most of the day without any real parental supervision. (No helmet or cellphone, either!) Double sigh.

Cindy said...

Makes you wonder doesn't it. As you wondered off topic I did as well, going back to living in the city and not locking our doors at one time and knowing the neighbours and family living close by. Times have changed, however I got the be careful, don't eat candy until you get home, you can drink any canned pop, don't step inside anyone's house, and all. Today I don't see as many kids at the door, but then I moved from that City. I came to a place that reminded me of years gone by and after a few visits I moved here, to the Island PEI and we don't lock our doors, our bike can sit on the front lawn and still be there in the morning. I have a sense of peace being here, truly happy place living and in time.

Mimi said...

Oh Stephanie, I do think the safety nets keep kids from actually learning how to look after themselves.
But it's very hard to let them off too, in the way that we were let off. I think my parents were so busy we had to amuse ourselves much more, and if we were doing an activity, we either cycled or walked to it, or didn't do it! Simple choice!
I wonder will our kids say the same kind of thing to their kids? And if yes, where will "protectionism" end?

Rudee said...

The message we get all day long in North America is one of fear. For the most part, none of us is going to encounter the evil that we are led to believe is everywhere. I became absolutely sensitive to this when I became a victim while working. My work led me to a very bad neighborhood where the odds were against me, but it was the constant message on television that made me more fearful and gave me palpitations. From the news (watch the first 5 minutes of any news cast-- I challenge you to find a positive story in those first minutes), to our obsession with crime stories (fiction or not), we are inundated with messages about our personal safety, or lack thereof.

It's no surprise the messages trickle down and compel us coddle our young children to protect them from evil-doers. I think a better way of handling their safety would start with shutting off the television. I think we'd all be happier and require much less anti-anxiety medicine and prozac.

Rudee said...

And my point with my long winded opinion? We're stripping our children of any education they may receive at the School of Hard Knocks by coddling them because of our own media induced fears. We're just getting to know this new generation of children who may never learn problem solving skills.


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