When You Were a Kid, What Did You Do for Fun?


KidsFunIt’s a question that may hold more weight than any of us realize. But, if you would, take a moment and think about it. What did you do for fun? What vivid memories do you have from you childhood? What were you doing when you were just absolutely having a blast?

This is going to sound cliché, but I grew up in a small, rural Kansas town on a dirt road that dead-ended into railroad tracks. I know…I know…I couldn’t make it up if I tried. Fortunately, it’s all true. We knew (almost) everyone in our town, and I was pretty much free to ride the streets on my bike at any time I’d like.

During the summer, my buddies and I would head to the railroad tracks in search of anything–railroad spikes, tie plates, rocks, coins–that we thought was cool or valuable in our 8-year-old minds. We’d build forts, we’d play war, we’d pretend we were BMX racers, we’d stay out until it was dark.

We were kings.

Yet for as active as we were, our parents were even more so. I mean, whose mom and dad over the age of 60 didn’t have to walk to school uphill both ways?

As a society, we’ve had several “active” generations, but unfortunately, we’re a dying breed. Our grandparents, our parents, us…we’re going extinct. The activity levels that we knew as kids are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Our children are sitting for hours during the school day and then coming home and sitting more. By and large, they’re more tuned out to life, and tuned in to the screen in front of them. They’re addicted to technology, and many of them couldn’t care less about getting outside and actually moving.

Check out the video below from Nature Valley. The granola bar company realizes we have a problem, and they have launched their #RediscoverNature campaign. Personally, I love it. As a father of three boys, I very much limit their screen time. I want them outside. I want them playing. Remember playing? You know…that thing we used to do where there was no agenda and no expected outcome? Playing! Having fun!

When you watched the video, did you listen to the older generations talk about what they used to do?

Their answers were things like:

Pick blueberries…

Fish…

Play hide-n-seek…

Build forts…

But when you listened to the young kids’ answers, you heard:

Play video games…

Watch videos…

Watch TV…

Text their friends…

Folks, this video kills me.

Kills.

Me.

It kills me, because we’re killing our kids. That’s the honest truth. We’re killing them. The body is a use-it-or-lose-it organism. It responds to, it needs, positive stimuli. No positive stimuli? No energy. No metabolic rate. No blood flow. No body. We’re getting sicker, earlier, and there’s a definite reason why: We aren’t moving.

We have to change. We have to do better. We have to #RediscoverNature. We have to ask our kids to go for a walk, go to the park, throw a ball, take a hike. As the woman in the video said, “That special connection with nature, I think it’s innate in all children but needs to be nurtured.”

It’s high-time we start nurturing that special connection in our kids. Their lives depend on it.

QUESTION: When was the last time your kids spent time outside?

 

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