Friday, July 24, 2009

An Amazing Sight

I witnessed something the other day that just blew me away. I haven't seen something like this in a long time.
I was so surprised and astonished that I actually slowed the car to a snails pace and watched this event for a few minutes. If I was in a high traffic area I would have caused a massive traffic jam because I was rubber-necking like crazy.
I thought of calling my wife and spreading the news. This was truly a sight from the past.
I wished I had my camera with me, because some people just don't believe me when I tell them that, the other day I actually saw a boy, about 5 or 6 years old, PLAYING OUTSIDE and USING HIS IMAGINATION instead of a computer to have fun.
What I saw was a boy, standing in his driveway, standing at attention, with a rifle on his shoulder, except his make believe rifle was just a long stick. He would stand still as a statue, facing straight ahead like a Marine in the silent drill team. Suddenly he would move a few steps and then snap back to attention. I watched this, fascinated, wondering what was going on his head as he spent a hot muggy afternoon in his driveway, playing, like I remember kids used to play.
It brought me back to my childhood and the great fun I had playing "army" in the neighborhood back yards.
A handful of us kids would form a platoon and travel through the neighboring yards, fighting the imaginary enemy, with a tenacity that would have made General Patton envious.
My friend, Steve, would always be the leader of the platoon, something I didn't necessarily agree with, but when your in the army, you learn to follow orders, so I kept quiet.
I thought Steve was a bit aggressive with the imaginary "air strikes" he used to call in, totally demolishing above ground pools and swing sets in the process. I was more of a search and destroy guy. The less collateral damage the better, was my philosophy.
Watching this young boy whose imagination was in overdrive, made it very apparent to me, that the neighborhood I was in was like a ghost town, as far as kids playing outside.
It was a hot summer afternoon, I'm in a neighborhood that holds about 50 houses. Assuming the national average, there should have been at least 100 kids running around outside playing catch or hide and seek, jumping on pogo sticks or even attacking some imaginary stronghold. There wasn't a kid in sight.
I purposely drove through some other neighborhoods on the way home yesterday for the sole purpose of trying to find some kids...playing outside.
I didn't see one.
What does all this prove? I have no idea.
Is my generation better off because we ran around outside playing every game imaginable?
I was just about to list the downfalls of spending so much time in front of computers when I realized, it's a beautiful day outside right now, I have a basketball court in my driveway, I have a garden that needs some work and the grass needs to be cut, and what am I doing.
Sitting in front of a computer......BLOGGING!


dcpeg said...

What a sad picture - one little boy playing all by himself. . . bless his heart.

I do believe our generation had healthier and happier childhoods because we had to make our own fun and it usually involved physical activity.

Kids these days know way more than they need to know at younger and younger ages. The internet, like the TV before it, has become a baby-sitter. I don't approve, but who cares what I think. . .?

Anonymous said...

*lol* your last comment did make me chuckle Mark.

But you're right, it's a rare sight these days. However, we do have a LOT of children playing on the streets where I live, only they're usually little devils and often are a massive pain in the neighborhood ass.