When I was a child, I left home for the day. I would run and play, but I knew to be home when the street lights came on. Today, I bet my kids don’t even know what a street light is, and if they do, I’m certain they don’t realize it goes on and off.
I bring this up because we live in a hyper-connected GPS-tracking world where we know where everyone is, and we can reach people at a moment’s notice…except my little ones. They are off the grid, which I think is good, and it is the way we all grew up. But back then, there weren’t any cell phones. Heck, when I was little, my cousins and I would get a boat and head out on the bayou with nothing more than poles and worms, and if we were lucky, a sandwich! We would be somewhere out on the bayou when we heard the voice I will never forget, my Aunt Bev, screaming from the porch, “Boys, it’s time to come home.” Looking back on it now, if she did that today, she would be locked up for being crazy. Can you imagine standing on your porch, looking at the bayou, and screaming out into nothing for the kids to come back home?
I want my kids to run and play free, but I feel we are in a different world these days, and having them run through the neighborhood is just not the same. Even when they are in the backyard fishing, I am always watching them because they are either going to fall or get pushed in.
I think this is worse for me in the summer as there is more idle time that needs to be filled. The more I think about it, the solution is to step back, relax, and realize it takes a village to raise a child. Because of that, we all need to be on the lookout and use this technology to ease our minds a bit, and let each other know what’s going on. This could be as simple as a text saying, “Hey, the kids are in my backyard.” You know what? This just might be what worked when we were kids, but with a phone call, and there really isn’t a “little birdie” out there who is telling on me and everything I do. ■