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Monday, 14 July 2014

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We were right all along...

Wait long enough and everything that goes around comes around again to prove you weren’t such a silly old witterer after all.

Platform soles, maxi-dresses, mini-skirts, skinny jeans and flares – they’re not even half of it. It’s the “in my day” line that brings the bitterest of barbs... or, at least, it used to.

In my day we used to play out from breakfast time until supper was on the table, with never a thought for menacing monstrous strangers on every street corner.

In my day, we learned how to stay safe on the roads – by keeping to the pavements – thus avoiding the wheels of passing fast cars.

In my day, we ate three meals a day, had the occasional tube of sweets as a treat and ran off excess calories in outdoor games we made up on the spot – they always involved dizzying speed.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Big yawns for our day. Pipe down and move on.

Well, perhaps we old fogies would button up, were there not signs now of a hankering to move on by moving back. It seems that finally it’s being recognised the old ways were best for children needing to fill long school summer holidays with useful activity.

For useful understand healthy, imaginative, adventurous, fun. Den-building, grazed knees, rounders with rolled up cardigans for bases, hide and seek, tig, exploring woods and meadows, running like the wind – just for the feel of it.

All the elements of childhood development, in fact, that computer games, TV and social networking are not.

A report marking Playday 2012 threw up worrying concerns that children’s health was being compromised – even endangered – by parental reluctance to let their children go out to play.

Mums and dads preferring to keep their youngsters indoors cited fear of traffic, abductors and local crime as their reasons for turning on the TV and stocking up with crisps and sugary drinks during the summer holidays.

The result of those perceptions of danger is evident everywhere. Childhood obesity levels have never been more worrying. And since adult health is dictated to a large extent by the foundations laid in childhood, the future is looking less than great for a nation of idle fatties.

Too many children are failing to find the sense of independence only their own experiences can bring.

They’re driven to and from school during term time, confined to the sofa in holiday time.

And with as little as one hour’s PE a week, when on earth do they get to use their legs?

Adventure is negated by risk assessment, outdoor play too readily criticised as parental neglect rather than a chance to flourish.

And – as ever – blame is laid at governmental doors for failing to fund sufficient formal playing fields (supervised, obviously) for ordered, health and safety ticked games, risking no compensation claims for sprained ankles.

Sad times for young folk with energy to spare and stunted imagination. Smug ones for old-fogies who know that in our day...

Have your say

Anne - read your article with interest and being in my 50's now I can identify with many of your comments. However, as I recall, the comments made about youngsters today regarding being idle etc. were levelled at us by our parents and grandparents when we were kids. I think nostalgia for those long hot summers and white christmasses is charming, up to a point, but they never really existed you know....its all in our minds. The kids of today will grow up and have kids of their own and guess what?....they will say to their kids...'In my day....'

Posted by Shock And Awe on 8 August 2012 at 17:16

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