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I found several recent news stories very disturbing. Not the government shut-down or the usual fare. These left me with a deep sense of loss, loss of innocence and judgement.

On October 8th, a middle school on Long Island banned footballs, soccer balls, baseballs, doing cartwheels and playing tag on the playground at recess for safety reasons. Then on the 10th, the local news reported that a Nashua middle school had banned tag over concerns of potential injuries.

Unless you live in a cave, you must have seen the post that circulates every so often on FaceBook or in emails. It walks through what childhood was like 40 years ago, and brings up issues such as bike helmets, pick-up ball games and practices like “you came home when the street lights came on or your mother rang a cow bell.” Being of that generation, I am genuinely worried that we are raising children who don’t have the opportunity to learn actions and consequences; to think ahead and see the possibilities in a situation.

Baseballs are hard. Get hit in crotch and you will keel over and think you want to die, but you won’t. Don’t do cartwheels on the gravel and keep and eye on your fellow cartwheelers. Tag gives you an opportunity to let that cute boy know you are alive and can run fast.

Another news story from Kentucky stated that all post-game handshakes were now banned. You remember, that tradition of each team lining up after the game, regardless if it was Little League or high school, and walking down the line congratulating and acknowledging each other.  Good sportsmanship, right? I can only quote this article in total disbelief.

“While it is an obvious sign of sportsmanship and civility, many incidents have occurred … where fights and physical conflicts have broken out,” according to the Commissioner’s Directive that went to schools on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, the adrenaline and effort required to participate in the sport sometimes seems to deplete the supply of judgment available to participants.”

The “adrenaline and effort required to participate depletes their judgement?”  Well that is a sad state of affairs. Perhaps instead of excusing them, we should reminded them that not everyone makes the team. It is an honor to play, so honor those you play with and against.  Am I making this too simple? We rush these kids off the field without helping them learn a lesson in humility and humanity, and they go home and play violent video games.
What’s next? Remember Finger Fortune Tellers, also known as Cootie Catchers? I’m going out on a limb here, as I don’t know if kids even make these origami things today. In case they do, perhaps Cootie Catchers should be outlawed for several reasons:
1. Curtail the spread of Cooties
2. Potential for paper cuts
3. Someone’s feelings could be hurt when they don’t like the fortune they receive.
Do we wonder what is wrong with the fabric of society when no one is trusted to stay out until the street lights come on?
**Note on the cow bell reference. Each mother in our neighborhood had a device for child-recover purposes at dinner time. Some had bells or whistles. When that failed there was always “send a sibling on reconnaissance mission” tactic.  My mother used an air-powered boat horn, no mistaking that call to the table.

13 comments on “Loss of innocence or loss of judgement?

  1. Stephanie sheridan says:

    I came to the ringing of the cow bell…here Stephie, Stephie…worked like a charm. Our neighborhood also had a wide variety of bells and whistles assigned to each kid out playing. I remember being so relieved when mine wasn’t the first one to sound at dinner time. Somehow made me feel a bit more grown up. As for the “vidiots” we are currently raising as a nation, it is pathetic the things that have gone by the wayside, music, sports, clubs. It seems like if it doesn’t have a joy stick, it is out the window. Sit on the couch with the tv On, laptop in the lap and an iPhone in the hand, and they call that spending time with their friends these days….not out playing ball or fishing together, but via social media. Like I said…vidiots.


    1. Thanks Steph. I think social media has its place. The fact that we are able to “chat” every morning is a good example of how 30+ years of friendship benefit when we live far apart. On the other hand, I am really worried about the state of society when we continue to remove face-to-face interactions from kids.


      1. Stephanie sheridan says:

        It agree completely…social media is a luxury to our age ! Imagine being able to talk to you every morning!


  2. Stephanie sheridan says:

    Sadly, I will add, they don’t know what they aRe missing…I do feel bad for them cause, we all sure had a ball and look how good we all turned out!


  3. Chris F says:

    That airhorn, on the other hand, works great as a deterrent tool of last resort for a cat.

    Saw way too much of this thinking in education, Martha. One of many reasons I was glad to retire.


    1. Hi Chris, I bet you did! The question is how do we turn this trend around? I am at a loss. My kids did not have video games, they had a barn to clean and ponies, dogs, ferrets, cats, bunnies and such to care for. I may not have been the perfect parent, but I think they are better adults for having had one-on-one activities.


  4. alinekaplan says:

    Saturday I was at the playground with my two grand-daughters. TT, 2 1/2, was on a device that whirls around. Like her grandmother, TT likes to go fast. I was twirling her when a much older boy, at least six or seven, got on. His mother immediately warned him to be careful and then urged him to get off. She was clearly nervous and hovering over a boy who should have been running around on his own while she watched from the sidelines. When I looked at her in disbelief she explained that his older brother had fallen off and broken his arm. “Well,” I said, that will teach him to be more careful.” Now she looked at me in disbelief and said, “It was a really bad break,” and hurried him away from the Dangerous Device. TT was still twirling so I told her to hang on tight and made it go faster. She laughed and had a great time.


    1. The world needs more grandmothers like you Aline!


  5. Touring NH says:

    Hahaha…”deplete the supply of judgment” Now I have heard it all!!! It’s a real b*tch when demand overreaches supply! Kudos to Aline!!!!!!!!!!


    1. Amazing Right? We need more parents and grandparents like Aline.


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