Walking Everywhere, and Anywhere!

Every now and then I will update this blog with thoughts about walking, and being a pedestrian in Southern California. As of 2014, this blog will also be featuring posts about my bicycle adventures around Southern California.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Are Kids Being Told Not To Walk?

I have not been following the news closely as of late, but this morning an over the top story caught my attention.  Two parents are being criticized for allowing their responsible ten year old son to walk a mile to and from the park with his six year old sister, and I just that is a bit on the ridiculous side.  I am not saying all ten year old kids are capable enough to do that, but I used to do the same thing when I was a kid.  Of course it was a different time, and I grew up in the mountains, but now it seems if you are under the age of eighteen you cannot be left unsupervised, ever.  Maybe that is an exaggeration, but that seems to be the way things are headed. 

It is not as if these kids were left for eight hours in a public place, they just went to and from the park to play.  I know what that was like as a kid, and I can imagine they did not spend long there.  Too bad these seemingly good parents are being scrutinized by allowing their kids to get a bit of fun and exercise, and I am glad I do not have kids because it seems like a lot of things I did when I was younger are no longer allowed.

What also disconcerts me about this story is it is pretty much sending the message kids are not supposed to walk.  We continuously hear about how kids are more sedentary than thirty years ago, and they should go outside and play more.  Are parents going to want to let their kids go outside and play when they hear stories like this?

Also, when is there an appropriate time these days for a kid to learn certain crucial life skills, like how to cross the street on a traffic light?  That probably sounds like a mundane task to most people, but there are some eighteen year olds who do not know how to take a bus, or cross the road on their own because they have never done it before.  I have actually witnessed eighteen year olds who cannot do these things, and it will become much more prevalent since it seems we are heading towards an era where you cannot step foot outside of your house without being supervised up until the age of eighteen.  People complain that young adults cannot do a lot of things they could do at their age, but this story is more evidence why this is happening. 

Ten years old is a reasonable enough age for a responsible sibling to be able to go on a walk with his sister.  I feel these parents should be given kudos for promoting an active lifestyle for their kids.  When we continue to send mixed messages like this, what are people going to believe?  Should kids all go to corporate gyms to work out with a paid babysitter?  Maybe that is what this is all about.  It makes the writer of the Pedestrian Walking and Biking Life wonder.  Also, no wonder everyone thinks you have to have a flashy car, and to drive all the time in America.  Walking is always being discouraged.

5 comments:

  1. I completely agree. We have had similar experiences in our family, though not as drastic. It is a combination of police state expansion and people being so unused to walking that they see it as odd in somebody else, least of all a minor.

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    1. Things are just getting too ridiculous. No one would think twice about kids going to a gym with a supervised babysitter, and I almost feel like stories like this are promoting those services. I am all for people being active no matter how they choose to do so, but why all the scrutiny of parents doing something that is perfectly normal, or used to be anyway? And people wonder why eighteen year olds are constantly looking for a public phone so their parents can give them a ride home. Usually these teens are legally adults and are not even allowed to walk a mile to and from home alone. There is also the phenomenon of college kids having wild parties, and that is going to just get more prevalent if parents and officials think a ten year old cannot even walk to the park. I would not want to be a kid these days, it does not seem like much fun.

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    2. Turn eighteen and away from home for the first time, and boy will those kids go wild.

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    3. It really does make it hard to grow up when children are not allowed to take on adult responsibility for themselves gradually, but are expected to acquire maturity all at once when they become legal adults.

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    4. Of course the same people that complain about eighteen year olds who do not have life skills are the same ones who will be mad a ten year old walked a block on their own. Never mind the irony of that.

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