Or, who needs "play dates"?
If you’re reading this blog then you probably know that I’m aging not so much like fine wine but more like that left-over soup at the back of your fridge. Nevertheless, there was a time when I was a young mother with young children to care for and this little story is a memory of that time.
When I look around me I see how mothers today care for their children and it makes me wonder how mine survived. I’m not referring to the extreme “helicopter” parents who garner a fair amount of newsprint but rather the ones I see driving their children to school, the ones who make sure by arranging “play dates” that their offspring do not play in the dangerous outside. They are no doubt convinced that the world is a much more perilous place than when they themselves were young.
I don’t know how true those beliefs are I only know how I acted as a parent in the “good ‘ole days”. Let me tell you.
The time frame was the 1960’s. LS along with her husband and child had just immigrated to Canada. On the day I’m remembering they were visiting us at our third floor apartment situated on a busy North York street. My family then consisted of two children. The eldest was a boisterous 3 year old who, had I known about ADHD, I might have said was afflicted with every letter of the alphabet. Whereas, LS’s daughter was a 6 year old calm-well-behaved English young lady.
Both children were tired of the constraints of the apartment. They wanted to go outside to play! No problem. It was a fine spring day and a little fresh air would do them good. In case you’re thinking that either LS or I would accompany them - let me set the record straight. We didn’t!
Instead, the mature 6 year old was given that responsibility, and responsible she was. She knew she was charged with keeping her small cousin safe and sound. She kept her eye out for any potential danger. She surveyed her surroundings and carefully forewarned her young cousin if anything came to light.
It did! “Whatever you do” she directed, “do not put your finger in that hole, it is dangerous”.
Had I been there, as the mother of this child I would have rather slit my throat than have called attention to something of this nature, especially when it was made even more appealing with the admonition to not go near it. But I wasn’t there.
Need I say more.
Should you mention this story to the now grown man he will gladly show you the scar on his finger. Glass makes a nasty cut!
Perhaps today’s parents do know a thing or two.