Friday, May 15, 2009

You go, girl...

Sweet Mamacita has brought up a subject that has multiple angles of cogitation, and maybe a little brain food.

The title of her post is: That Was Then, and This, Unfortunately, Is Now. She has some interesting things to say, and I guess I have some other things to say, that in some ways differ from her; and may lend light to why there is so much over protection of our chillrun today.

“Even when I was a child, I was a reader. Not just a reader-in-school, either; I was a READER.” I am sure that I learned to read at a really young age, maybe even before starting school; I can’t say for sure. I can, however, say, that I did not enjoy reading! For me, reading meant having to do a book report for school, of which I truly hated. I could see no good rational reason for reading a book and then writing a report about the book, as I understood it. I reiterate, here, I hated being in school for as far back as I am able to remember; and the two things that placed the fear of God in me, were book reports and diagramming sentences.

It was not until I graduated from high school and went into the Marine Corps, that I found I liked reading. Back in the early 60s, there was not a lot of pay for a junior enlisted person, and getting around, generally meant riding buses, and waiting in bus stations. All this extra time, gave birth to reading novels, and working crossword puzzles. A hundred mile trip from Los Angeles to Twenty-nine palms could easily consume a book, and a good portion of a crossword book.

To be fair, when my second and third children were born, I began reading to them very early. I read them the obligatory “Curious George” and other books of the genre, but I also read them books that didn’t have the multi-colored pictures to look at while reading. Chief among these was the entire “Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis. My children, a boy and a girl, both loved hearing the stories. The icing on the cake, was when my son, learned to read by himself, and asked to have the “Chronicles” to read for himself, to see how much of what I had read to him was actually printed in the books.

The other thing I want to address from Mamacita is found in her passage: “The sight of a little kid like me, bruised from head to toe and covered with bandaids, hanging upside down from an apple tree or calling out loud, ‘Look Ma, no hands!’ on my bike would have sent some of these modern mothers into hysteria. Then again, I belong to an era when mothers didn’t faint and then sue when their kids came home from the playground with a broken arm or a gash. That’s just what happened when kids played.”

I went into sixth grade with a broken left wrist from trying to jump off a retaining wall and into a big tree. Seems my hands, and arms, were not sufficient to wrap around the large limb, and I dropped to the ground. Then, entering the seventh grade, I had both wrists in casts from swinging on a makeshift swing connected to a gigantic cottonwood tree, that allowed us to swing out over a huge drainage ditch. Surprisingly, a 20 to 30 foot fall only left me with two broken wrists, and not a lot of other broken bones. Add to this, riding my bike, with both arms in full casts, and losing control of the bike, coming down a long and steep hill, and flipping off the bike. Did not break either cast, did loosen them up a little tho, but did wind up with two black eyes. So many adults commented that they would like to see the other guy…I was not condemned by anyone. It was considered part of growing up, the rites of passage.

I guess it is no wonder, we have so many people today, who are not willing to do things for themselves, cuz they have been sheltered so much in their formative years.