Spring is seemingly just around the corner. The other day, the sun was actually shining hot through my window and I began to recall spring days as a kid. I longed for the snow to melt and spring to arrive so I could put on my new rubber boots and go outside and explore. This was not me as a five-year-old but me as a pre-teen, the same age my daughter is now.
You will likely recognise your parents in this next statement but I started to think about how things were different for us as kids — how entertainment and fun happened outside! Humour me for a moment... come back in time with me and as you do, consider changes you could make to bring a little bit of the old days back to our kids.
Never mind bringing sexy back, let’s bring hanging outside back!
When we were kids, we had limits on TV, and this meant more time playing outside...
When we were under our parents’ feet, we were told to "go outside and play!" So we did.
We knew that when we walked outside, we would find our friends out there and soon a neighbourhood game of hide-and-seek would ensue. If we say something like that now to our kids, our first worry is the psychological damage we may cause by basically telling them to get out of our hair. That, and their safety, of course.
As kids we stayed outside, only coming home when our hungry tummies sent us back or when we heard our moms and dads holler out the door to come home. We’d make our way back, dirty from outside activity, with hands that needed to be scrubbed in order to come clean.
Dinner meant after-dinner chores, arguments over whose turn it was to wash the dishes and who was going to dry. We didn’t know at the time but this was helping us build work ethic. We earned money from actually doing chores.
Completed chores meant we were free to go outside again. We had to tell our parents where we were going — and be there if they checked up on us — because if we weren’t where we said we would be, we’d be in trouble. We had a healthy fear of our parents,and we respected that fear. And we had that same healthy fear of our friends’ parents, our caregivers and our teachers.
We had nothing but Saturday morning cartoons to keep us inside, no movie channels, no internet, and no video games that fried our brains (Atari doesn’t count, right?)
Again, this could have come out of my mom’s mouth, but when I was a kid, we drank Kool-Aid multiple times a day, ate cookies and milk and chocolate bars for snacks.
We didn’t worry about obesity, because we rode our bikes, walked or ran to our friends’ houses or to the park. We did it every day, and we did it all weekend.
Oh the good old days... when we would actually play outside!
Tannis Ross is a community correspondent for St. Vital.