When school let out each day, you went home, changed into your "play clothes" and spent the next several hours in glorious play with your friends. It might be football, baseball, or basketball (depending on the season) or maybe hide and seek or "cops and robbers". And then there was the summertime, with Bible School, Boy or Girl Scouts, campouts, beach outings and endless hours on bicycles, pretending you were traveling the world. Imagination, competition, fellowship--all of these things helped develop us into well-rounded young men and women ready to take on the world in a few years.
But what happened? From a carefree time of fun and freedom, we have changed our youth environment into one of fear and tight control and the lack of physical activity and creativity shows. Pick-up neighborhood games are often a no-no because of fear of being hurt. We can't let Johnny off the reservation after school because there might be a pervert roaming our neigbhorhood or older kids with guns. Instead of baseball they play their games on the internet, exercising only their fingers while their minds roam into areas of inquiry which, if not supervised, often lead into areas which are unfit for children and adults. While the internet offers a great learning experience, it also has the potential to expose children to evil, perversion and many things unsound.
Boy Scouts has lost its luster due to extreme social engineering, we don't ride bikes because, my word, somebody might get a skinned knee, and much of organized sports has been ruined by our lack of competitiveness. After all, can't let anyone's feelings be hurt even though it was a great way to prepare for the real world later. The school of hard knocks was a great way to learn about the way things turn out to really be.
I chose the picture of the empty playground with just a lone dog present because this is so much of what I see when I pass one. Money was spent on gleaming play equipment which is standing unused while our little ones are home, often unsupervised, getting fat and lazy and expecting the world to "give them" what they need. And maybe the problem is really just me and my memories as I get older and that things are the way they are supposed to be. But when I look at society overall and I see the mess we are in socially and economically, I think it all goes back to our foundation, or lack thereof. Lack of competition, lack of respect, lack of God, lack of parent interest from so many somehow frightens me about what the future might be.
I always remember one of my high school coaches who was extremely hard on us and demanded practice, practice and more practice. When we'd grumble or complain, he said, "When you're peering out of a foxhole one day you'll remember me and what I did to help you prepare."
I always shook my head thinking about that until the day I was in a foxhole. It was then that I remembered that he was oh, so right. It was a different time for sure, but somehow I think we were much better prepared then than we are today and I have a nagging suspicion that it just might come back to haunt us. I hope that I am wrong.
So parents, love your children but don't give them the easy way out in life. Let 'em play but also make 'em work and experience the real aspects of life, both good and bad. It will make them stronger, build character and make them appreciative. Keep an eye on them without smothering them and always remember the importance of God in the equation, for without Him we are nothing.
Dear Lord, Help us to learn from our past experience and incorporate those things that were good for us into things that we do going forward. Bless our children and help us to do a better job of raising them, teaching them about Thee and Thy undeniable importance and developing them into strong, moral and competent adults capable of leading our world and society in a just and sound way. We ask in His name, the One who gave His life so that we might live. Amen.
Sorry for the rambling today but I just felt it to be important. Have a blessed day, the next one in the rest of your life. Use it wisely and praise Him.