Watching the telly a couple Saturdays ago I was troubled by a commercial I saw urging children to go outside and play. This WHAT THE HELL moment continued as the commercial instructed children to come to their website for suggestions on what to do outside if they needed an idea. I mean it truly is sad that things have gotten to this point that children are left to Google how to play with each other. I never thought I’d see the day when kids would need to look at an internet printout on how to play hide-n-seek; but then I also never thought I would pay more than a dollar for bottle water or see a black man become president…oh wait, that latter hasn’t happened yet, my bad. But you see where I’m going right? Some of the things we see today were once inconceivable notions we laughed at because they were so unlikely.
I wonder what this next generation is gonna do as they get older. I’m sure every generation wonders about the up and coming one. But I think about my own interactions with folks I’ve met on this life journey who I was able to befriend with similar childhood stories of playing until the street lights came on. Bonds formed as we swapped tales of playing house and doctor or a very naughty edition of hide-n-go get it. What will the next ones bond over, the extent of their Wii injuries?
I can’t imagine a childhood in front of a television or a computer. Now I will admit that there were times when my parents had to urge me to go outside. There were times when once outside I’d want to come home, to maybe pee or eat and I found the door locked (gives parents a knowing look). But for the most part I had the best time running with the neighborhood kids or even playing by myself in the backyard with my dog. I can’t imagine my memories of neighborhood bicycle races or tag tournaments being replaced by just passing a controller to a friend. I can’t imagine replacing the story about the time I put my head through a patio railing, got suck and my friends rushing to get my dad to come get me out with butter and a prayer-with one about making it to the highest level in a game.
I know most people are concerned with childhood obesity. Like Billy C’s foundation that is a part of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation that prompted Nickelodeon to shut down for three hours in the past couple of years with the hopes that kids would brave that new world on the other side of their doors. Crazy I know. But I will also say that after the three hour play date the kids can come back inside and watch a program that outlined what other kids had done during that three hours. Progress? I’m shaking my head no. And I guess the real source of my disbelief and outrage is that these kids have no imaginations because we’ve given them virtual realities in hi-def.
I will admit that graphics are much more awesome than when I was coming up. And I won’t get into how excited I was about getting a Sega Genesis! Sonic and Tails anyone? But ain’t it sad when a child can’t see a hairbrush become a microphone or a chair to become a rocket? I’m concerned that the inquiring minds of children are accepting things at face value and not question the possibilities of anything else. Isn’t it tragic these youngins don’t want to explore what’s beyond their neighborhoods…well heck, their own houses?
For me childhood and imagination went hand in hand, like peanut butter and jam, or biscuits and ham. Sorry, I was having a Doctor Seuss rhyming moment, apologizes to all. But Adulthood doesn’t allow the time to pick up a quick game of Mother May I or play around the hood until your mother calls you to come in. Adulthood can be harsh enough without having some of the joys of childhood to think back on. I can imagine a lot of things, but I can’t imagine not having those memories.
See You In Seven.
SO LONG, FAREWELL...
The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot