Friday, July 6, 2012

A New Spin on Lazy

A New Spin on Lazy
By Laura Bradford

Some of my best memories of childhood involve summer...

Swimming at the local pool.

Ice pops on the front steps.

Kickball games in the cul-de-sac.

Chasing fireflies after dark.

Flashlight tag with neighborhood friends.


It was as if there was no limit to the things you could try to pack into a lazy summer day--a day when there was no homework, no after school activity, no set bedtime. You simply played outside all day long. Until the streetlights came on, serving as the unofficial alarm clock that sent kids running for home.

Even now, as an adult, I still crave summer. I crave the time with the kids when we don't have to drive here, there, or everywhere. Yet, as familiar as the limitless possibilities of summer are, the reality is quite different than I remember.

Kids just don't seem to be outside like they used to be. Instead, video games have taken over where our imaginations left off. Instead of kickball in the cul-de-sac, kids play golf on their television screen. Mention flashlight tag and you get some strange looks (though, my kids are well versed). And fireflies? Even they seem to be scarce these days.

Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe I'm getting just a wee bit cynical. But these kids are missing some of the best parts of childhood staring at their computer screens.



  1. They're simply preparing for the modern-day world where work takes over our lives, Laura. Americans (in general) work constantly and stay on-call for work and connected to work, even on vacations. It's sad but true, and this generation of kids are rehearsing for their own versions of it.

  2. There's also the modern-day parenting stuff that comes into play. It's not like when we were kids and we were let loose at a young age to run and play with the other kids in the neighborhood. For one, there are fewer kids and smaller families, and not too many parents let their kids run free these days. I think that has something to do with it, too. Maggie

  3. I agree many parent keep kids much closer to home these days. Or in parent-organized activities. Who has time to just go play ball with little league practice every night.

  4. When my kids were growing up we didn't have video game consoles, we just didn't have the money to invest in that. So my kids learned to do other things w/their friends: go to the pool, roller skating, the thrift cinema and movie rental of course.

    But like you, I am saddened for today's kids. The newer generation is truly missing out.


  5. You hit upon one of my pet peeves with this post! I grew up like you did. We headed outside the minute we finished breakfast and with the exception of bathroom breaks, we didn't come back in until it got too dark to keep playing (except for flashlight tag of course!).

    I think it is terribly sad that kids are missing out on the creative and imaginative side of life that we got to experience. Remember getting the cardboard box from an appliance and feeling like you had just won the lottery? For my brothers it was a spaceship that they rode to Mars, forms sister and I, a playhouse. We used crayons and our imaginations. Today a kid would be horrified to be handed a cardboard box, unless it contained the latest video game or maybe an iPad!

    It makes me sad for the children who are growing up this way, but even sadder for our world, because we are already seeing what the lack of imagination and physical play is doing to generations. Things like childhood obesity weren't common when I was growing up. We were too busy playing to overheat and we burned off what we did eat running around.

    Anyway, I think you hit upon an important topic that we all need to give more thought to, and try to find ways to get kids back to being kids for the longest time possible! Thanks for letting me have my rant and for bringing up such an important point.

  6. Linda, that makes sense. But I wish it wasn't that way.

    Maggie, those darn psychos have changed everything. :)

    LD, you're right on the other activities. I just try to minimize those in summer.

    Maria and Maureen, the best thing I can do is make the computer a non-choice whenever possible, I guess. That and get outside and play a little flashlight tag myself. :)

  7. I never played flashlight tag and had to be home at 5 for dinner--but the rest of the time I did what ever I pleased. It was nearly the same for my kids. I think it might have been as dangerous back then, I remember some scary times when I didn't know where my kids were, but nowadays, we hear so much bad stuff, I think people are just too afraid.

    One thing I do know, summer days are not nearly as long s they were when I was a kid.

  8. Marilyn, they DO seem shorter now, don't they?

  9. I'm a little late to post, but I really cherish my memories of summer-as a child, and that of my children. But I think the dangers in the society has scared the parents, and video games seem more immediate in their "payoff" than using one's imagination. Our youngsters need to boost their creativity to survive in the adult world. Computers are useful, but so is playing in the dust of ball field, and smelling natures gifts.

  10. Yes, Lil, I agree on the need for creativity to make the jump into adulthood. Well said!