Driving home one sunny Sunday afternoon from dropping Edward off at work I was driving through the older suburban community he works in on some side roads that have a junior high and a high school on them. This was a Sunday. I remember when I was younger when we were living in Calgary at the time on Sunday afternoon’s especially a sunny one there would be kids out everywhere and I mean everywhere. In the park, on the sidewalks riding bikes, skateboarding, going from house to house playing with their siblings and friends. But you just don’t see that anymore.
It occurred to me that you don’t see kids playing outside much anymore, it’s become a rare oddity rather then the norm. The neighbourhood he works in is full of kids. Tons of them. All ages. There are some elderly people as well but a lot of middle aged parents (my age) with kids in junior and senior high and lots of young families with young kids. Yet all I saw in the 3 or 4 streets I drove down that day was 2 kids jumping on a trampoline in their back yard and honestly was surprised to see that because this particular house is on a corner, no fence around the yard just a chain link one around a pool and trampoline which honestly I had never seen in use the hundreds of times I drove by in the evenings or on the weekends.
It got me thinking though. In my apartment building there is tons of kids and once in a while you may see the odd one playing out in front of the building with a ball maybe or on the rocks in the summer but you don’t see a bunch out at once usually and sometimes you don’t see them at all. I know they are there. My neighbors above and beside have kids. I’ve seen kids in the hall or getting out of their parents cars but you never see them out playing at all. The parks were empty. Sometimes you might see a parent with a single child or two but you don’t really see a bunch of kids playing with each other or out playing hockey in a cul-de-sac or playing basketball, etc. Even just a few years ago you saw that a lot more.
I know this is a problem for this generation of kids but I guess I never really realized just how much until now. Is it because the parents don’t feel safe letting their kids play outside? When I was younger the whole neighbourhood watched you. Our parents were friends usually or at least neighborly. They watched out for each others kids. They picked up a phone and called a kids parents if they were up to no good. They would make lunch for their child and anyone else’s who happened to be at your house or in your yard or just that you were out playing with outside. There were no “play dates”. You just went outside and played and if you were over 10 your parents didn’t always know where you were every second but they knew you weren’t far and would come in when called.
It makes me sad really.