Where have all the children gone?

Warning: An opinion post 🙂 Also, I can’t get my formatting to work the way I want . . . drat. Everything stays double spaced when I hit Enter and I can’t even get it to Tab so that you can see the spacing. Help! Anyway, here it goes:

I got to thinking about play and children and how it is lost on today’s and yesterday’s generation, and how I wonder if it will be obsolete before too long unless we parents open our eyes. It seems to me that so many parents raising their children are under the impression that they have to get the first leg up for their children, even putting their in utero babies on waiting lists for “the best preschools/schools”. I drive neighborhoods and wonder, “where are the children?”

In fact, I left a neighborhood, admittedly filled with those over-achiever types, as it was a well-to-do clientele. Our neighbors said to me, “You’re not like us . . .” No, we’re not. Our seven children actually played outside everyday. Where are the other children? Only allowed outside under close supervision, even at 11 years old! We were told that we were close to abusive because we allowed our children to . . . go barefoot . . . gasp! Sometimes . . . even in the winter (NC is a wonderful state that way!) . . . gasp! What I say is . . . sigh.

So, as I pondered this, the words, “Where have all the flowers gone?” came to mind, so I looked up the lyrics of that popular 60s song about war. And, I quickly coined these words to match my melancholy mood about the state of affairs with play and children:

Where have all the children gone?

Long time passing.

Where have all the children gone?

Long time ago.

Where have all the children gone?

Closed in behind four walls, every one.

Oh, when will you ever learn?

Oh, when will you ever learn?

Where have all the babies gone?

Long time passing.

Where have all the babies gone?

Long time ago.

Where have all the babies gone?

Put in daycares by working parents, every one.

Oh, when will you ever learn?

Oh, when will you ever learn?

Where have all the toddlers gone?

Long time passing.

Where have all the toddlers gone?

Long time ago.

Where have all the toddlers gone?

In circle time at preschool, every one.

Oh, when will you ever learn?

Oh, when will you ever learn?

Where have all the young ones gone?

Long time passing.

Where have all the young ones gone?

Long time ago.

Where have all the young ones gone?

Sorted and labeled inside the box, every one.

Oh, when will you ever learn?

Oh, when will you ever learn?

Where have all the pre-adolescence gone?

Long time passing.

Where have all the pre-adolescence gone?

Long time ago.

Where have all the pre-adolescence gone?

Signed up for programs and activities, every one.

Oh, when will you ever learn?

Oh, when will you ever learn?

Where have all the teenagers gone?

Long time passing.

Where have all the teenagers gone?

Long time ago.

Where have all the teenagers gone?

Gangs or cliches or drugs to find acceptance, every one

Accepting their fate and awaiting their time, every one.

(Which one do you like?)

Oh, when will you ever learn?

Oh, when will you ever learn?

Where have all the children gone?

Long time passing.

Where have all the children gone?

Long time ago.

Where have all the children gone?

Turned into parents who continue the cycle, every one.

Without play . . .

Without freedom . . .

Inside the box . . .

Where’s the hope for a brighter tomorrow . . . without play . . . without childhood?

Oh, when will you ever learn?

Oh, when will you ever learn?

This all began when I put away the rubber boots I bought for my two young ones. So much adventure in so little time! Firefighters, park rangers, police officers, splashing in the creek (yep, in the winter), no socks, and here I captured them collecting some dirt to fill a hole:


4 responses to “Where have all the children gone?

  1. re: Formatting – if you click the Code tab while you’re editng, you can see the html tags and twek thing that way, even take out extra spaces.

    I really agree with the rest of the post.

  2. I like your take on that song

  3. If you are considered abusive, it would scare me to think of what they would think of me. I mean my children play outside in the mud and get dirty AND, they play with worms and frogs as well as goats and chickens. *gasp* And not only that, they track mud through the house and grind it into the carpet. (All I can say is thank God for vacuums.)

  4. I totally agree with you! People here look at me really weird because my kids play outside. We’ve actually had people hostile towards us because we let them play outside. We almost never see the other kids in the neighborhood. During the school year, sure they have school nearly all day and it’s getting dark when they get home, but in the summer we don’t see them either. I grew up on 8 1/2 acres and was outside all the time. It would be so nice for the kids to have more than a postage stamp in the back and half a postage stamp in the front.