I tripped upon an article from the Washington Post post yesterday. Clint Edwards (who writes his own blog at http://www.byclintedwards.com) wrote about one of my all time favorite movies, The Goonies.
Here’s the part of the article that got me thinking, the gist of it:
This was something that seemed so natural to me as a child that I never gave it any notice, but Tristan, a boy being raised in 2016, didn’t know that wandering the neighborhood with friends was an option.
Growing up, Grandpa would let me wander about the neighborhood all the time. “Don’t go on Michigan Ave. and be safe,” was the extent of the instructions I ever received. So I could ride my bike from Edinburgh Dr. down Ellendale Street, over to Middlebury Dr, back down Boswell Ln, over to Berkshire Dr and back again. I could do that, during the summer, until the sun went down.
There was also a huge empty field behind our house. I’ve written about it before. It used to be WMU’s cross country track – a place called the Arboretum. There were trails all through there and there were woods that bordered the edge of it, separating our neighborhood from the Todd Farm/Kal-Sec, Inc. It had awesome steep (yet short) hills you could sled in the winter and it had all the peace one could ever want from nature, despite being in the middle of the city. I can still picture where the old dead tree was and could probably draw a map of all the trails out there.
I miss that field. A number of years ago it had a street paved through it so that a developer could build some condos back there.
Children today, however, don’t get to run out in fields, or around the neighborhood by themselves anymore. They’re inside watching TV or playing video games. If they’re not doing that, they are playing during scheduled “playdates,” which is at least playing.
But they’re not on their own in the neighborhood. They’re not following a map to find One-Eyed Willy’s treasure.
Clint ends his article with:
“… as I looked at my son watching a movie about a group of children searching for a long-lost pirate ship in Oregon, and I wondered what hidden treasures he isn’t finding.”
I wondered same about C. I also added the question to myself, “Are we being bad parents because we’re not letting C be a Goonie?” Sure she has had a lot of experiences with the Girl Scouts (which is a great organization).
But when will she have her time to explore, to have an adventure, to chase her treasure, to find her field in the crazy ass world? Can we still have Goonies these days?