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fgoodwin

Kids today losing touch with nature

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Another movie that comes to mind is "Stand By Me," about 4 boys and a summer adventure that includes no adults. It is a pity that kids today can't be allowed to run free, but it's a fact of life. In the South, I think air conditioning has played a role in what kids do in summer. They think it's too hot to go out, so they play inside. BTW, don't forget equine encephalitis, west nile, etc. In the South, a lot of Scouts have been limited to daytime activities at times to avoid the mosquitos that carry it.

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One theory of the recent explosion of childhood asthma is that kids are too protected and don't develop their immune system like before. I am 50 and am waiting for that fatal case of melanoma due to all the blistering sunburns I got every summer until my tan set in. In the summer, we would set out from home around 8 am and ride for miles every day. Home at 5pm sharp because Dad got home and that was suppertime, no excuses. By 5:20, it was back out until the streetlights started coming on.

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You know......posting and doing all this nonsense on these message boards isn't going to get us any closer to nature....(:

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Kids today are way over scheduled. When I was a kid the only thing that was scheduled was school & baseball practice! When I left the house after dinner my dad would yell out "be home when the street lights come on". We would play ball, ride our bikes, go swimming, etc. None of it scheduled! It seems today if it isn't scheduled, kids don't know what to do!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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i have noticed within the past 6 monthes how much kids are losing touch w/nature. it used to be that whenever we could, we were outside, playing capture the flag, or just taking a walk through the woods. now all the kids (young scouts) want to do is sit inside. we just got a new group of young scouts. (they mostly, in their spare time, play video games. i cant believe someone can devote 2-3 hours a day to play video games, or sportsbut sports is better than nothing.) all us older scouts were made to be outdoors, whether we liked it or not.(most of us being hunters and hikers wanted to be in the woods as much as possible.) we didnt have to play a game or anything, but we at least had to go for a walk 2 or 3 times a day. the older scouts (there are about 5 or 6 out of a troop of 15) just sit around until boredom gets the best and we go for a hike. the last campout we went on,all the younger scouts wanted to do was play cards. our SPL, talked to our SM, and we made those kids go on a hike. that was like pulling teeth.

 

i no longer look forward to weekends set aside for capture the flag, football, and other outdoor activitys. it just isnt that fun when you have 5 people playing. this is one of the reasons we formed an adventure patrol, and everyone joined OA. we can have fun with large groups, with minimal sitting around.

 

i evn have noticed this problem even here at home. i have an 11 yr old brother. he plays baseball, and when he isnt doing that all he does is sit in front of the TV. he wont do anything outside, unless he is threatened with grounding from TV. my parents cant even get him to mow grass once a week.

 

i know some of this stuff i posted might be alittle off topic, but i needed to vent, and this was the perfect place.

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I was a child of nature. I spent every waking moment that I could in the woods. No sports or other activities. Very few social interactions outside of scouts. Explains a lot.

The boys today have far more distractions, many of them the result of some digital (and I don't mean fingers) technology.

I took it all for granted, canoeing around a tropical island all summer, gathering coconuts, catching fish, gathering clams or oysters. And returning in the evening ready for sleep. It was the time of my life and I didn't even know it.

 

But some of the best times recently are when, for example during an outing, I see a boy just sitting on a fallen log over a stream, deep in thought. I completely understand. Need to do it more often.

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Kevin gets 12 hours of TV and vidio games a week. He can use that 12 hours any way he wants to. But it is seldom that I let him go over. Funny thing is that seldom does he ever use his full 12 hours.

We just do so much. We read, do board games, work in the yard. And on weekends there is so much to do.

I remember growing up my dad would fuss in the summer because he had to put shoes on my horse every month. I would get on him at day break and get back at dark. Dad would fuss but always said it was the best $15.00 a month he spent.

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One thing in defense of kids and nature today.

In my youth I could get on the back of the horse and leave the house at daylight and not get back until after dark. Never thought a thing about it.

Today I wouldn't let my kids do that. I don't let Kevin walk home from school and it's only about 15 blocks. Many of the freedoms that I had as a kid simply aren't there for todays kids. I never thought about dealing with driveby shootings. Gang violance. Child molesters. 50-55 years ago it wasn't there.

 

But on the other side. Kids are losing touch with nature because we, as parents are allowing them to.

Both my parents worked. But we didn't sleep until noon on Saturday. Everyone helped with the house work all week and on the weekend we did things.

Hiked, swam, worked horses. Now mom and dad want to sleep until noon. Come home and spend two hours on the computer. So if kids are losing touch with nature a lot of adults need to be looking in the mirror for the ones at fault.

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Its not all the parents' fault -- although parents shoulder much of the blame.

 

As an example, Louv makes much of the fact that kids a generation or two ago routinely built tree houses and spent much unsupervised time in them.

 

Last summer, my son and I started a tree house in our back yard. We were having great fun working on it together (he even had some neighbrhood friends join in to help us), when I was told by the neighborhood association I had to take it down due to a complaint by a neighbor.

 

My point is that local ordinances, covenants, neighborhood design and other factors (Lyme disease, anyone?) have contributed to limiting kids' access to nature.

 

Its not just the parents' fault.

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I completely agree. I'm only 26 and I see the same thing happening to the kids in my town. It's summer vacation and the neighborhood used to be full of kids running about. But you might see a pair once a week. I'm from Central New Jersey and open space is hard to come by. That is why I loved scouting. It got me outside to places i could explore with my friends. But it is not only TV, Technology, or the parents fault. It is also our communities and our sense of priority and the irresponsible development that occurs. The small patch of woods I spent many years playing in behind my house are now a Walmart. In the name of "progress" we are always looking for the easy cheaper way out. We continue to populate the country with more and people who all need places to live and shop. I believe we must all take a more active role in the planning of our neighborhoods. The sprawl from the major cities will reach you soon so please I urge you to pay attention to what is happening in your towns before it is too late. Even our national and state forests are under threat to development and priviatization. Please open your eyes to the larger picture and set the example for our kids by preserving what little we have left. Most of the country is not like NJ or any other highly developed state but when people turn a blind eye to what is going on around them it soon will be.

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In the 1950's I grew up on the south side of Chicago. Across the street from my house was a prairie which was a half a mile on each side! We had a park for us little guys with a sand box and monkey bars, swings and a water fountain in the center for hot days. We had a soft ball diamond with backstop and a full size hard ball batting cage type back stop with base lines which (depending on how far we wanted to push our lawn mowers)could be a quarter mile long. I walked over a mile each way to school as early as 1st grade. No adults, just 50 kids in groups of 4 and 5. As my fellow poster have said today it just isnt so. The prairie is a sub division, the park and ball fields are a school and I too would not let my sons walk a mile to school . Lynda J thinks the bad elements were not there when we were kids, I think society just dealt with them different. In the 50's a child molester didn't get probation or a suspended sentence and even in prison they were treated differently by the other inmates. We don't intimidate the criminal anymore. We don't have the prairies in the urban areas anymore. Our park activities are either indoor or scheduled to the extent that "pick-up" games are excluded. Today, when Scouting should be praised and sought out as an avenue to the outdoors it is shackled and ridiculed.

LongHaul

 

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I agree with all the reasons given about why kids are missing out on nature these days.

 

I just returned from a week in northern Minn. where my boys and their friends spent the first two days at the beach digging in the sand, making castles and moats, catching frogs and leeches (yuck!) and making forts in the woods the whole day long.

 

Then, they unfortunately discovered that my parents have sattelite T.V. in their cabin! Neither my kids nor the boys we brought up have sattelite or cable T.V. at home, so this was a real treat for them. We had to limit their T.V. time or else they would have wasted the rest of the vacation indoors!

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A television commercial recently airing has me seeing red.

 

Dad, all excited, opens the door to a minivan parked in the driveway. He tells the two young boys inside that he has completed the tree house and it's all ready to go.

 

Boys are in the back seats, playing cards, wearing head phones. One boy asks, "does it have leather seats?" "Does it have a DVD player?"

 

Boys decline to play in the new treehouse and say "we're good."

 

Dad says OK, closes the door to the minivan, and walks away.

 

Amazing! Is this a commentary on our children today? What about the Dad? I know, I know, it's just a commercial. But, it sure doesn't inspire me to buy a minivan!

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