I am pretty sure that I played baseball every day of my life growing up. Most kids back then did. If it was in the backyard or at Shafer Park, it was about the same. All I needed was my glove and a ball. No one had to have a helmet, sunglasses, batting gloves or one of those long bags for our stuff. That’s just how it was.
When the grandkids come to my house we always play. They don’t believe me when I tell them they do not need all that gear. I was at a C league girl’s game just last week and I noticed every player on the field had a face mask on. Really? Is it that dangerous?
As a 13-14-year-old boy growing up in Hoagland, I found myself traveling on my bike to Danville. At that time, it was to catch a glimpse of the prettiest girl in the town as she was there visiting her grandparents. It was a rough ride as my dog had somehow followed me about halfway there. Out of nowhere this pickup truck stops on S.R. 138 and offers to take me and the dog back home, then take me and my bike to Danville. I had never seen this guy before, but he seemed, ok? That was almost 50 years ago. Larry Barr and I have remained friends to this day.
Another thought about the days of old comes to mind. It seemed almost every kid would ride on the mower while Dad mowed the yard. I sure did. This was most likely after coming home from riding in the back of the truck. My youngest daughter Amy’s son Cam was staying with us a few years ago overnight. It was also mowing day for me. I thought I would now be a part of the ongoing tradition with a different role. I found out just moments later Amy would have been less upset if I had given him beer and cigarettes! Being confronted moments after her car entered the driveway, she asked, “Dad, tell me the mower was at least not turned on?” My answer was about what any grandad would say, I lied. Needless to say, that day was a red-letter day at my house as she didn’t believe me.
No way would I suggest letting our children get in cars with complete strangers as I did. Today’s world is much different than the past one. I do think we should ask ourselves if maybe, just maybe, we have taken the protection of our kids to a level that is further than we should have. Could it be that we have opted out of letting natural consequences teach children the lessons they so desperately need to learn? A thought could be to express to children that we must be careful and if you fall from taking a risk you just may get hurt.
On the back of my left leg is a scar. It still serves as a reminder to me since childhood to never turn your back on a dog you do not know. They just may bite you. There is another large scar on my arm that speaks very loudly that dirt bikes, speed and darkness can be a bad thing.
Please don’t think of me as someone who has no care or concern for our younger generation. That’s just not so. But the events that happen to us all in our life make us who we are today. We will all get hurt, be treated badly, draw the short stick and maybe even get second place and not always first. It will happen.
In the book, “All you really need to know, you learned in kindergarten,” by Robert Fulghum there are many things we can transfer to our children or let them learn on their own. Below are just a few:
*If you hit someone, they will hit you back
*Clean up your own mess
*Say you’re sorry when your hurt somebody
*Remember, most of us got something for nothing the first time just by showing up here at birth. Now we have to qualify.
I wonder if we are spending way too much money and effort on items that natural consequences would be much easier to get the results needed.
Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.