In my last blog, I showed a picture of our neighbor towing his children behind his 4-wheeler. For some folks here in the rural part of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, I would guess that this was not such an unusual picture. But in our development, it was an unusual sight. Many who live in our development are retired although there are a few families with young school age children. For we oldsters, seeing children playing outside seems to be a rarity these days. Their smart phones, TV programs, and school homework have long since taken up a child’s time after school. One of my cousins who lives in Texas read my last bog and jokingly commented that she didn’t know that they made USB cords so long!
I think that most folks would agree that children do not play outside as much as in past times. And there are a multitude of reasons. Children’s and youth’s play seem to be more centered around organized sports today.
We did again experience one of those monster snow storms in the Finger Lakes this week which significantly added to our snow base. The weather people had been following this storm and their predictions for those of us in the Rochester area of NY were quite accurate: Beginning on Wednesday night the 2nd of February, we received 3-4 inches of snow, then 8-10 inches during the day on Thursday. The storm tapered off on Friday which was cleanup day for roads, driveways, and city streets. Most schools were closed on that day.
I ran my snowblower till I was exhausted, but I couldn’t complete the task. Light snow kept on coming all day long. I looked out at my driveway late in the afternoon, and guess what? The driveway was all shoveled off! I opened the garage door and saw boot prints on the newly shoveled drive. There were prints left by a man’s boot and also smaller prints left by a child. Imagine, someone did a kind deed and cleared off my driveway without my asking or without any expectation for pay in return for this kind deed.
You guessed it, it was my neighbors up the street who have 2 small boys, a baby and a dog. When was the last time that someone came and did something for you without expecting anything in return? Most folks over fifty today will remember playing outside and shoveling the snow off their parent’s driveway and then helping a neighbor shovel their driveway just for the sheer fun of being outside. I can’t help but think that our society has lost something by not allowing our small children to play outside, to develop valuable social skills through unsupervised play, and to learn that there is joy and satisfaction in helping others just for the fun of it!