Monday, May 23, 2011


I keep seeing this little blurb passed around on Facebook:

My curfew was lightning bugs. My mom didn't call my cell - she yelled my name. I played outside with friends, not online. If I didn't eat what my mom cooked then I didn't eat. Sanitizer didn't exist, but you COULD get your mouth washed out with soap. Rode a bike without a helmet, getting dirty was OK, and neighbors cared just as much as your parents did. Re-post if you drank water from a garden hose and survived!!

The mother in me takes that as a criticism of parents these days.  Part of it reads to me that we shouldn't be as careful with our kids.  They will be fine, there's no need to know where they are or who they are with, after all we were fine, right?  I'm not sure where these people grew up, but it wasn't where I lived. 

I had no limits, which was true for most of my friends.  Let me tell you we needed limits.  We needed a rule that says you can't drive with five teens in the car with you.  I recall being in a car drag racing on the highway going more than 90 mph (I wasn't driving and I won't say who was). 

I know sixteen-year-olds who snuck out of the house to bars to see bands in the middle of the night without their parents having a clue.

I know teenagers that died in car accidents because they or their friends were careless.

I know several people that had serious injuries that a helmet could have prevented.

I can't count the number of times a cell phone (had they existed) would have gotten me out of serious trouble.

I personally know more than a handful people that were molested or sexually mistreated by adults as teenagers or children - many of them the neighbors this little blurb says were watching out for us - yes, they were.

A two-year-old got run over by a car just a few houses down from my house when I was a kid.  Her parents were only a few feet away, but not close enough to grab her.  My uncle had to scrape her body off the road. 

I survived a Lord of the Flies childhood and wish I hadn't.  I was little and wish someone had been there to look out for me.  Back then it was no one else's business.  If we were little, we were told we should learn how to fight better.  I did - I fought with things that could have broken bones in my siblings' heads if I was a tiny bit stronger. 

Does no one remember any of this?  I didn't grow up alone.

Yes, I survived.  I survived to bother to buy my kids bike helmets, to be bothered to know where they are, put cell phones in their hands so they can get help if they need it, and to use the internet so I know exactly where the dozens of convicted child molesters in my cute little neighborhood live and work. 

I would like my kids to do more than just survive.


  1. Helmets are a good idea. Back then there were always adults around watching, so we could be safe roaming around. It was a different world. It wasn't better. Our brains naturally sweep all the bad stuff under the rug.

  2. I took it as...It's sad that we have to worry for our children today. Times have definitely changed. It's sad our kids can't go outside to play and be safe. Kids are overweight and lack creativity.It's sad we don't know our neighbors like our moms and dads did theirs.People don't care about your kid, it's easier to pick up the phone to call the child welfare services w/o knowing the whole story. The world is so busy anymore. It's sad we can't even trust our government to keep our tap and bottled water safe. We live in a crazy world now. Nothing is simple anymore.