photo by Joao Rafael
In today’s world, kids playing has changed from mostly outdoors to mostly indoors. From learning about bugs and spiders, to learning about apps and online entertainment. From active soldiers to inactive “couch potatoes” in a world that seems to have lost a sense of life and all that the outdoors has to offer. Not saying that learning electronics is bad, it just seems to me that the rough and tough has been taken out of games for boys and the damsel in distress is now actually not in distress any longer but is more so uncharacterized. Gender identity has been lost and a neutral perspective of one other gained. Talking, laughing out loud, and tackling the enemy has been replaced by inanimate keystrokes. This isn’t teaching, engaging and enjoying the company of others. This is replacing people with machines. Things that cannot love back, will never prepare us or touch us, or cry with us or around us. They don’t step on prickly burrs and ask for help to take the stickers out; there is no gratitude nor the sharing of a rarely acquired candy bar. Only a button push to turn it on or turn it off.
This isn’t kids living out their imaginations, nor is it emotionally healthy. In fact, maybe it’s no life at all. Our young men seem to have shelved their honor, their word, and all the things that forge character so that now they have no idea what being a man is supposed to be like. In all fairness though, it’s not like one day they knew these things and woke up one morning and decided “I am going to shed my honor and what my word means.” In fact, in my time, boys spoke truth, not as compared to a lie, but to verbalize something they liked or not, what came out of our mouths was pretty black and white. I mean we weren’t like angels or demons, and I’m not saying we didn’t ever lie but when put in a child’s world, it was a little white fib. The point being that this generation of young men are only living out what they know and were taught No more and no less. Keep in mind that this is the world they operate out of.
Like I said, electronics are good and helpful when needed and we all should learn how to take advantage of them. What I would encourage in addition to, is the use of a back yard, the local empty lot, or even a local playground. Let kids play in their own version of their heroes, their knights, and yes if they want to be clowns, then let them. I miss my back yard; I mean really miss it. Not for the rough and shoddy ground it was but for the things I learned instinctively: there were no black kids, no white kids, and certainly no Hispanic kids because I learned we all laughed the same, liked the same things, and we did not see any difference in our skin color. When we split up into teams, we were only separated by the shirts from the skins. No color, no preferences, no exclusions…just kids playing together in my back yard.