playing outside

Remember When We Used To Play Outside When We Were Kids?

The lifestyle of kids today. Do they play outside anymore? It sure is different from when I was a kid. I’m talking about the years of life while we were living under the roof of our parents. Generally speaking, up through the teenage years.

In my view, the lifestyle of our kids ‘play’ has changed dramatically. Not for everyone, but certainly for most.

From birth through our early years in life, we begin as minds full of mush, being influenced and shaped into the basis of who we eventually become. Although “who we are” is an ongoing process, our early years are etched into our being. I personally believe that our lives as children, and then our teenage years as young adults, has significant influence on the rest of our lives.

We each have lots of memories from our childhood and early years. Lots of them from when we used to simply play outside. Maybe events that were especially impressionable. We can recall them from deep within the ‘memory bank’ in our brains.

When I was young, the computer did not exist. Well, there was the calculator. That was the ‘computer’ of my early years. My dad actually had an abacus!

I recall when I worked part time at a hardware store that had an old cash register with the mechanical push buttons. There’s nothing like operating one of those, and then the Cha-Ching when the register drawer would open… And we would have to count change, using our brains to do math…

Our lifestyle sure was different back then. Before computers. Before the internet.

We used to always play outside. The only time we were inside (after school) was when it was raining, or bad weather during the winter.

All of us kids eventually had bicycles. Getting your fist bike. It was freedom! All I wanted to do was ride. I recall all of the many bumps and scrapes from wiping out while racing around with the other kids on the street. Doing stupid stuff like building a jump ramp and having contests… (We do lots of stupid stuff when we’re kids!)

To play outside in the woods. Building “Forts”. Climbing trees. Getting poison ivy (yikes!). Getting dirty… Our immune systems sure did a lot of natural development back then!

To play outside street games. Many of which we would just make up. Or maybe Kick ball. All sorts of activities as the ‘pack’ of kids work out their positions while testing each others strengths and weaknesses.

There were no safe spaces, so to speak. You either were a sissy, or you were not. When called a sissy, (there was lots of name calling among boys), it somehow toughened you up. Which in my opinion was a good thing.

Yes, we boys would fight from time to time. A natural thing. And we weren’t sent to a psychologist or put on medications as a result…

Family vacations were all about being outdoors. Camping, or maybe renting a cottage somewhere. Exploring. Hiking. Swimming. Fishing.

I recall a small local lake owned/managed by the local church we would attend. I loved going there swimming. They had a nice platform out in the middle with a diving board, which was pretty high up off the water! (Today you never see diving boards any more). We would play all sorts of diving games and contests on that platform. I loved going there (pictured above from 1971, scanned from one of my dad’s slides from back then).

I’ll never forget the many times my dad would bring us fishing at a local small lake. Catching numerous little fish called a ‘Kiver’. Sometimes a Bass. A Perch. Or a Pickerel. Before we had ‘real’ fishing poles, we made our own with a stick, string, and a hook…and it worked! (No fish can resist a fat ‘night crawler’ worm!). Speaking of which, I recall picking my own nightcrawlers at night for fishing…

When we were young my dad built a sailboat from a kit. A small “Sunfish”. We would take that boat out on weekends to one of the several local lakes and sail. I’ll never forget taking it out by myself for the first time… kind of scary, but fun!

Eventually he bought a bigger sailboat, a daysailer (forgot the brand) with a small cabin (26′?). We would often go to Cape Cod for vacations and sail that boat out of Wellfleet or Truro. Great memories of outdoor fun and play from when we were young. Out on the ocean, fishing off the boat, catching Blues and the elusive Striped Bass. Flounder. Clamming (yum!). We almost sunk that boat once! Bailed with buckets – got towed in before it went under. (Good thing for VHF communication radios!)

Sometimes we would drive up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire and go hiking. A few times overnight in one of the many ‘huts’ maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club. Climbed Mt. Washington a few times. I really enjoyed those times hiking in the mountains as a young boy.

Us kids and the neighbor kids would sometimes play Croquet. Outside! (sarc). Our neighbor had a nice set and we would have many a tournament during the summer in their backyard.

I recall helping on my Uncle’s dairy farm during hay season. The cousins would be recruited to help get the job done, from loading bails in the field onto the flatbed, to stacking bails in the barn. Talk about physical work! Those bails were heavy…

I could go on and on with so many memories when I was a kid. Playing outside. Being outside. But are you getting the underlying theme here? OUTDOORS. OUTSIDE. When we were kids. We were always doing something outside when we could.

We sure burned a lot of energy and calories when we were young! That’s why I was always thin back then (and most all the other kids!). We sure did a lot of running around.

Today’s kids? Not so much. That’s too bad…

Since the advent of computers, the internet, video games, smart phones, and online social media, not many kids play outside anymore like we did when we were kids. I believe it has dramatically changed “who we are”, as several generations of kids have already grown up this way.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a techie. I enjoy the many advantages of technology. I just believe that it has affected our young to an extent that has shifted things for the worse (because it goes largely unmanaged or disciplined by parents).

The days of my youth are a bygone era. I wish more parents would get their kids outside and off their screens from time to time… But that’s like going cold-turkey from a serious addiction.

Similar Posts

50 Comments

  1. Playing, working and spending time outdoors taught us many lessons and skills that we needed and continue to use in our everyday lives. Today’s generations are weak, soft, ignorant and basically useless. For the most part, those 40 and under confuse access to knowledge with actual knowledge and think “education” is more important than ability or wisdom. They are weak minded and easily led by social media and other’s opinions and have no idea of reality without their phone.

    They have very few if any, useful skills and believe that using the internet to look up information is sufficient and in their current world it is. They have never known a world without cellphones, internet, wifi and are use to instant gratification. They have no concept of the difference between want and need and are not prepared to deal with adversity since they have been sheltered and protected their whole life.

    I personally would love to see the Chinese or Russian completely wipe take out the entire telecommunications grid (all cell, internet, satellite, phone) just to show the entitled, arrogant and totally oblivious current generations how useless and ignorant they really are. I don’t have cell service at my house and hope I never do as it is means society is getting closer.

    The socialist/communists “utopia” they are being sold will be the greatest lost of liberty and freedom in world history. The hell they are building for themselves will be a nightmare that will make the holocaust or Stalin-era Russia look like a picnic. I’m glad I got to enjoy real freedom and pre-internet America and have no desire to participate in the hell that’s own the horizon.

    1. Romeo Charlie,,,,,,,,one of the best comments and most thoughtful ,,,thank you ,,,it seams older folks are also falling into the same trap ,at the valley ranch we almost had a war over high tech,or the lack of ,no cellular ,no web,no WiFi ,no outside phone ,no Amazon, it takes about a week for the ‘shakes’to start ,three quarters of new guests don’t last a summer. Peace and quiet can be unnerving to some ,do you know you can hear a eagle fly ,the sound that the air moving over it’s wings ,,,little things that tell you your alive,,,,

    2. Romeo Charlie,
      I too am a ham. It wouldn’t be good at all to lose the grid or comms as we now have them. It could easily happen. Ham isn’t as good as the internet and cell phones, it just isn’t. It does work though. I hope people have thought this through.

      1. Plainsmedic,
        I am a Ham also and lived just fine for 40 years without cellphones, internet and wifi and it wouldn’t bother me one bit to see them all go away. If I could go back in time and remove any one thing and it would never be created in the future, I would eliminate the microprocessing chip. No internet, no cellphone, no PC, no social media. History will prove the microchip will be the most destructive device to mankind ever invented.

        1. RC,
          In the BIG picture, I can agree with you on the microchip. Problem is, our entire infrastructure is now reliant upon them. IF it all goes down, you’ll have some comms. I applaud your foresight. 73

    1. riding in the back of a pickup,
      my best friend and i would ride for miles across town with my dad driving, us sitting on the tailgate of the truck with it down dragging the toes of our ked’s sneakers on the asphalt to make marks on the road. at 30 or 40 miles pr hr we could spit on the road and watch it bounce.
      it didn’t take much to keep us entertained. we made our own fun. BB gun wars, dirt clod fights,
      it was a blast.

    2. Such a good post, Ken! Thanks for the reminders of the good days…
      nyscout, I enjoyed reading the article too!
      Some memories, I have are also eating breakfast while watching Bugs Bunny eating real donuts and milk, then not coming back home (for any length of time) till the street lamps came on, so true! Then I would tell my mom, we are going to play tag or “release” till 9 p.m. No adult supervision, and 20 kids who would have imagined we survived!
      Also, I earned my $1 a week allowance, and went to the Stop-N-Go store to load up a little brown paper bag of candy: Swedish fish, pretzel rods, Hubba Bubba bubble gum, jolly rancher, and m&m’s. Who remembers building bike ramps with your friends so you could “pop-a-wheelie”? We had FUN and no fear!

      1. Birdee,
        oh yes, i remember the bike ramps. who here ever cut the forks off of an old bike and hammered them onto the forks of your bike to make a ‘chopper’.
        you could do a wheelie about 3 or 4 times before the forks would come off and the front end would bury up in the dirt when it came down. many cut’s and bruises but nothing band aids, iodine and a few days wouldn’t cure.
        i haven’t seen a Stop-N-Go in 40 yrs but i remember them well.
        take care

        1. Got such a laugh out of cutting the forks from another bike. haven’t thought about that in years

      2. Bike ramps were great!
        We built one with an up ramp, and after jumping over the picnic table, we had a landing ramp. Good fun, that is, until I was going up the up ramp and it gave way. Not good 🥴

  2. A year or so ago I read an article about early childhood development. It was discussing a new phenomenon–children who get into preschool or kindergarten and don’t know how to grasp a pencil or a crayon. Every screen is swipe and touch, no grasping required. Add to that a “diet” of McDonalds and other finger foods, seldom a fork or knife to be seen. Children simply are not learning the manual skills that the previous generations took forgranted.

    1. Drives me nuts when I see little babies/children engaged on a smart phone. Many stupid stupid parents don’t even know how to entertain their babies/children anymore and we wonder why our young people are so disengaged and into their own world. sad sad sad, Literally evil taking pieces of the child’s soul.

    2. Lauren,
      I read an article the other day that had a study that showed children’s IQs have dropped nearly 20 points since the start of the Covid plandemic This is exactly what TPTB want. A couple of generations of ignorant, unskilled, emotionally fragile zombies who are dependent on the government for their every need. They have succeeded way beyond their wildest imaginations in brainwashing these lemmings who are demanding their freedom and rights be taken in order to feed their emotional insecurity.

  3. Your comment made me laugh Ken: I was in Boy Scouts in my jr high and several years of high school. Upon 16th birthday, we got our drivers license and then we went to work for one of our uncles that were farmers. Though my dad was not a farmer, he sent us to work out there in order to: “develop character”. My father also gave us golf clubs and lessons at the local country club – I never cared for some of the people I met out there or the game of golf. I much preferred to hunt and fish when I was not working on some aspect of the farm ( working on trucks and tractors mostly ) My father wanted us to become college educated white collar professionals like he was.
    My becoming a ranger/firefighter was a disappointment to him and made him second guess sending us to the farms to “Build Character”. In my case, that idea backfired. These days, I consider myself very fortunate because many of my high school classmates worked part time and summers in local fast food franchises as the area was a bit depressed for full time career opportunities.

  4. These days, I hear and see most parents discussing the limitation of “screen time” for their children. Those that do not discuss this with their children are those that have little discipline of their own in limiting their screen time. We kids were not allowed to watch tv in the evening if there was school the next day. We also had an extensive collection of books in our home growing up. We were encouraged to go to the library and we had a 2 book limit when the Scholastic Services book mobile was taking orders several times per year.
    In short, we were encouraged to read in our house growing up. In retrospect, my parents did a lot of things right.

  5. So true. Awhile back I looked up my best friend from the 11-12-13 age range. Found her obituary. We had so much fun riding bikes, searching for soda bottles on the sides of the road to exchange at the little market. Our parents would have given us a dime, but searching was more fun. A tall RC cola bottle was 3 cents on return! We played with baby dolls, Barbie dolls and talked about boys and the Beatles at the same time. We made our Barbie houses out of cardboard boxes and decorated them with pictures out of Sears and Spiegel catalogs. She had older brothers and a badminton net in the back yard with which I could equal them and their strategy, but not equal them in playing poison with the croquet mallets. You would never get back up the hill to the wickets, never… An old tool shed was our play house and the huge oak tree had a tree house. I once climbed real high beyond the tree house and saw my mother looking for as I stayed silent way up in the tree. Climbing back down was an oh crap oh crap moment, uhh where did I put my feet and hands before??? Lesson learned….! The summers nights were wonderful. Sometimes we would see how quiet we could be and snoop in the open windows of neighbors. No one ever heard us. Eating green apples with salt on her porch while being told we would get a stomach ache, but never did.
    At the end of the movie Stand By Me, the writer says, you will never have friends as good as those as when you where 12. It is true. Peace be you Susan.

  6. Yep, outside is the answer. I went on a custom cutting (wheat) crew my 16th and 17th years. Literally kids driving/operating combines and large farm trucks. Learned to do maintenance on “my combine.” You know, greasing the ka-jillion grease zerks, blowing out the air filters, fueling, etc. Yes, there were a few incidents. Nothing bad, but all of us kids learned quickly. The freedom was amazing. Imagine, a 17 year old kid driving a large farm truck, while towing a small mobile home. It was a gutted mobile home with bunk beds everywhere, our summer home.

    Most kids today can’t even drive a standard transmission. My grand-kids are learning on my old jeep. They all will learn what that 3rd foot pedal is for. Though I’m sure every generation thinks so, the kids today are very young for their age. For the most part, I’m fortunate. My grand-kids have been raised with hunting/fishing/firewood/gardening, etc. You know, outside stuff. They are all better than I at techy stuff and they enjoy “teaching” grandpa. I’m a willing student. It’s going to be a DRAMATIC change for most youngsters. Heck, it’ll be a dramatic change for all of us.

    1. Plains, my second husband and his friend were sent to Kansas in 1964 when they were 16 to keep them out of trouble for a summer. They lived with a large catholic family and drove combines all day. They also both saw the UFO’s that summer. Yes

  7. RC and Mrs U you remind me of the good old self sufficient days. I had my first pen knife at 6 1/2 years old and started on air guns at ten. Both would be criminal offences for the child and parent these days! I tried to bring up my kids to be self sufficient, think about problems and solutions and if necessary ask for help. On the other side of the coin they learned to help out, often with out being asked, when someone needed help.
    My daughter felt comfortable enough that when I gave they boys sit on kayaks when they turned 2 1/2 that they learned water and safety skills as well as fun! She was also comfortable with Grandpa teaching them how to whittle without leaving fingers behind. They enjoy carving and their friends are amazed at the boats we make for puddle and stream sailing. Yes they have screen time or Tech, as they call it but they’re good hikers and always interested in their surroundings.

  8. Well, I mentioned this before, but since you brought it up –

    I got my first gun, a .22 Remington bolt-action, when I was 12. My first shotgun, a Mossberg .12 gauge pump, 2 years later.
    Growing up in Connecticut & Massachusetts, walking through my neighborhoods to the near woods with either one, I never heard any complaints – only good wishes.
    It’s really shameful and pitiful to witness what has happened to our country.
    I hate to say it, but we have become a nation of ‘Wimps’.

    1. WarVet,
      so true and sad, there is a good couple who live not far from us. their boys would get a new bicycle every year for Christmas and 3 months later the tires would be worn out, on the rim’s. 2 years ago the parents got the kids each a cell phone and they have not left the house since. good kids, just distracted i guess.

    2. my dad got me my first .22 revelation rifle from western auto store for christmas. i still have it. i took it apart sometime ago and the trigger group has 10 million parts in it. i need to find a REAL gunsmith that knows how to get it back together. it shot really well with a weaver scope on it.

  9. I grew up on a small farm with cows and chickens in western Montana. We made multi layer forts in hay stacks, had a half mile of the Clark Fork river bank to explore on one side of my home and an endless mountain range on the other.We watched beaver, eagles, deer, moose and bear from our 3 story tree fort we built from lumber we scrounged or pilfered from our parents lol. At age 10, my friends and I camped out in the mountains living off of wild onions, service and huckel berries and rode our mini bikes on endless logging roads.I found old bottles and arrow heads, shot rabbits and birds with my BB gun. We slept outside on the week ends where we played hide and go seek and tried to find shooting stars or satellites until late with my neighborhood friends. We went to church and said grace before every meal.. We helped skin and cut up deer and elk meat when young and lived for hunting season when we passed hunter safety. We floated the Black foot river hundreds of times, the same one that was in the River runs through it movie. We hiked 60 miles through the Selway wilderness where we killed and ate rattle snakes. We camped and hike all over the state of Montana and Idaho. We ran wild during Halloween covering miles filling our bags to the top with candy. Everyone new each other in my community and any shenanigans that went on traveled through the mothers spy network that would make the KGB envious..We would get into fights which settled childhood differences and pecking orders, yet we always followed an honor code and remained friends. In high school we carried our hunting rifles in our vehicles and sharpened our hunting knives in the cafeteria during lunch. As kids, we got spanked by our parents and teachers which kept us on the right course. Self preservation taught the most unruly child to behave and it worked.. My childhood was paradise and was an era I’m afraid we will never see again.

    1. My youngest son thanks me for raising him on the farm till he was 12. Got to ride his bike over to his friends house with his swim suit and towel bungeed on his handle bars. They had a small above the ground pool. The road is now the Natchez Trace Parkway, but was dirt back then. I worried about him riding back in the dark because there were rattle snakes in the area, but I just had to let it happen. No helicopter parent here.

  10. Grew up in South Florida. The Everglades was our playground . Fished a lot, gigged for frogs, shot Ducks, maybe poached a gator or two. You haven’t lived until you shinned a light on the water at night and seen a red pair of 10 foot gator eyes watching you as his possible supper.

    Grits, cornbread, black-eyed peas and rice, fried frog legs or gator tail .

    1. and mosquitos,,,omg..moccasins omg….lived in Lauderdale for 3 years and we fished in the glades….get in the truck before the sun goes down…how did you keep the skeeters at bay? Fun to see a gator come after your bobber, then have to replace bobber….

  11. Grew up in LA basin. Dad and Mom had a cabin built in the San Bernadino mtns when I was 5. My older brother and I roamed the area around it for years, starting off with boundaries out 1/8 mile working up to 5-6 miles in our early teens. Built forts, bucked wood for the fireplace, hauled in rocks so Dad could build rock walls around the cabin. We were in scouts also, so we did numerous hikes and two 50 mile hikes into the Sierras. Hiked/camped the back country of Yosemite with The family also. We were always outdoors, even in the city. “Hunting” with our slingshot, riding bikes into the foothills. Left the area for college in Colorado at 17, never went back. LA basin has turned into a s@$%-hole in the meantime. I’ll stay in my side of the Rockies until I die.

    1. Minerjim,
      i grew up not far from you in the mojave area east of there on the Colorado river. it was great and i am absolutely homesick for it. maybe in May i’ll go home to visit.
      it’s truly sad what has happened to scouting, it was the best thing going for young people when i was growing up.
      damn lawyers can screw up anything.

      1. NYScout,
        Did my 50 Milers out of Camp Whitsett in Kern County in ’67 & ’68. Spent many happy hours with my troop in the Mojave desert. Also explored old mining camps with my folks out there, which got me interested in mining, and where I am today. The California back country of our youth only exists in our memories now. I am blessed that I can find that kind of back country in my part of Colorado now. The demise of Boy Scouts is a sad thing indeed.

  12. Grits, cornbread, black-eyed peas and rice, fried frog legs or gator tail …..That’s some mighty fine grub! Damn sure beats any fast or chain restaurant food.

  13. i remember playing outside, even though my parents kept an eye on me. I rode a bicycle, and one time my dad bought me a mini-bike, cant remember which store he got it from (to my mom’s disapproval). even shooting a .22 rifle i received on christmas outside in the back yard (in town). things i will never forget.

    1. Haha
      I somewhat remember being a kid.
      Always wanted a dirt bike, as my buddies did
      “Nope. You have a horse”, my dad would always say.
      I didn’t get a dirt bike til I was 20 something..
      The neighbor kid and I would bike on our ten speeds 20 miles or more each summer night…listening to jams in the duct taped cassette.

      Ahh, life was so much simpler, back then.

      My parents tought me alot about life.
      Just wished I coulda thanked them…sooner
      Lots of good memories.

      If I could only bring them back, in real time.

  14. Oh man do i remember,,,
    Grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii, outside was where we went most of the time, forts and hiking around, riding horses, swimming in streams and ponds, camping, only time vegging out inside was on really rainy days or saturday morning cartoons or after we got home from school before dinner and mom wanted us close by

    1. Kula,
      Ohh, man
      I built fort after fort. My own get away. Out in the woods, the hayloft, my brother and I,
      A Hogans Hero’s type of hay fort..secret entries, hidden tunnels…
      Good times

  15. I never realized it was so bad, poor children. Where we live the kids do chores, work outside, participate in rodeos. So the children living on ranches in the west are going to take over the world?

  16. Hammered forks for a chopper bike?
    Nope, just took a hacksaw and slid them in the existing forks.

    My first go kart was at 14.
    My dad even took it for a spin…
    Ma took a picture of him on it, big smile on his face. Frame, sagging.
    Vise grips for a steering wheel.
    My brother clocked me, 45 mph…
    Had a blow out on one of the fronts
    Lol

  17. I was 15 years old in the summer of ‘75, my friends and I rode our bikes from Detroit up the coast and over to Canada. We spent three weeks riding our bikes around Canada, listening to the radio tied to our handlebars. Ever other day someone would call home and that parent would call the other parents and check in.

  18. – Grew up in west Texas, back when kids did that get home as quick as you can when the streetlights came on. The farthest I ever took my bicycle when I was a kid was into Oklahoma and then home again by way of New Mexico. Didn’t duct tape a cassette player to the handlebars, but did have a little AM/FM radio cranked all the way up so we could hear it.

    We lived on the edge of a small town, and used to go out and trespass regularly on a famous ranch with air guns and later on my .22 Marlin semiauto carbine.

    When I was twelve, I defended myself and my 8-year-old brother from a pair of near-starved feral dogs with my old pump-up Benjamin .177 pellet gun. It would kill a German shepherd-sized dog if you are wondering.

    The ranch foreman would occasionally fly over in a little Cessna and stick his . 30-30 out the window and shoot just to get our attention and let us know we needed to go home.

    We shot bows and slingshots, hunted birds and rabbits with occasional other animals, and fished for crawdads in the streams. A three-pound coffee can full of crawdads is an impressive load from a stream that you could step over for the majority of its length.

    My grandkids have never really had such an opportunity, and my oldest granddaughter just presented us with a great-granddaughter a week ago Sunday.

    – Papa S.

    1. Papa Smurf – Congratulations on the birth of your Great-granddaughter last week.

  19. America’s timeline and obituary if it were a human

    Birth- Revolutionary War
    Kindergarten- War of 1812
    Elementary School-Civil War
    Middle School-Industrial Revolution / WWI
    High School- Great Depression
    (years of age)
    20- WWII
    30- Korean War
    40- Space Race / Vietnam War
    50- Cold War
    60- End of Cold War
    70- Creation of the internet, social media
    80- 9/11, the War on terrorism, Iraq, Afghanistan Wars
    90- Social Justice Warriors, BLM, Transgenders, Antifa, open borders, worldwide humiliation, corruption, bankruptcy, government dependency, obesity, drug addiction, communism
    100- Deceased

    America contracted the socialist/globalist cancer in the early 1900’s during the Wilson administration, which began spreading in the 1960’s. She was pulled off life support during the Obama administration however, conservatives tried to resuscitate her between 2016-2020 but the cancer finally killed her in 2021. The body is still here but the soul has gone forever.

  20. Note to Ken and Romeo Charlie: Some people are out there trying to do their best to raise their kids and at least expose then to some of the “Old Ways”. My older brother has several children and during their time growing up, they have been taught to shoot straight and rig up a fishing pole and line to catch bass, catfish and crappie. My brother happens to make his living as a software engineer. Within my family, I have been the go-to guy for all things off-grid, redneck-tech and fishing, trapping and hunting.
    My brother never forgot his roots in that we are descendants of farmers who worked hard and supplemented their simple diet with fish from the rivers and the ocean and wild game from the nearby hills. He is trying to pass this legacy on to his children despite pressures from other parents and society in general.
    While it is easy to sit with like minded friends and have a second cup of coffee, sometimes it is worth it to reach out and help a newbie that has questions. These days, I bring an extra 50 rounds of 22 long rifle ammo to the range with me in order to donate it to a father/grandpa teaching a young person how to shoot and safe gun handling. These days, I am approaching 60 and thinking hard about retirement. Time for me to establish a legacy for youngsters who have questions in my local area. “The best teacher at a target range is a box of shells” – Gene Hill

  21. 2 more stories of reaching out to “city folk” while I was in the San Fran Bay Area:
    #1. One day at the range, I noticed a fellow having trouble sighting in his deer/elk rifle. The rifle was not yet bore sighted so we got him on target in 3 rounds. Scope zeroed in less than 10 rounds total after letting the barrel cool and running a cleaning patch through. An extra hour at the range helping this guy get dialed in on my day off was no big deal to me. Later that year, the same fellow is talking to the charge nurse of a floor where I was doing my Student Nurse clinical gig. He saw me and was silent/confused. Turns out he was the environmental engineer for the hospital we were working in. He did end up getting an elk in the Rockies that year. We stayed in touch for the remainder of my time in the Bay Area.
    #2. One day, I was pulling my canoe into shore after paddling and drift fishing for crappie. On the dock I saw a father with his 12 year old son wondering what to do with the soft plastic nightcrawler the boy had bought from the bargain bin. The dad looked like an academic dweeb or a software engineer-type dweeb. I took the time and loaned him 3 hooks, bullet sinker and showed him and his son how to set up a Texas rig using a sliding bullet sinker, offset hook and the plastic worm. I pointed out a rocky section of shoreline and told him to stay away from the sandy bottom section. The kid caught several small male bass before I loaded my canoe on top of my truck. Later that year, that dweeby looking dad was my pharmacology professor. (PHD in pharmacology and he taught at Stanford up the road). I passed his class and he always called me: “rubber worm guy”. Now he regrets me teaching them how to rig for bass because his son wants to go every single day off.

    1. Calirefugee,
      I admire your actions and agree there are still a few parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and mentors that are trying their best to educate their kids with some useful knowledge and skills. I am very seldom around kids or “city folks” unless a niece of nephew visits and then I try and share some insight to “the old ways” but few are interested. One niece and one nephew have shown an interest in learning and this summer I taught them how to fell and buck with a crosscut saw which they really enjoyed.

      However the other 10 nieces and nephews have zero interest in coming to the mountains except to visit mindless attractions like Pigeon Forge or Dollywood where they are easy entertained with little effort on their part other than standing in a line. That’s their decision but when the balloon goes up, there will be no place for them at my table and that will be my decision.

      Keep doing what you can but realize the vast majority of people have no desire to put down their phones and pick up a shovel, hoe or an axe. They have been brainwashed that hard work is beneath them and doesn’t fit in with their social media personas.

      1. “They have been brainwashed that hard work is beneath them”

        RC, you hit the center of the ten ring with that one. God forbid any of them should go OUTSIDE and break a sweat!

  22. Saturday mornings: watch one (maybe two) cartoons while eating a good breakfast.
    Mom would say “get out of the house”. Could hear the door lock behind us.
    Playing in the creek, catching tadpoles, climbing trees, riding a bike (if you were lucky), playing with the neighbor’s dogs, a game of roll-a-bat, or kickball, or just throwing red clay at a tree trunk. Waiting for the ice-cream truck!
    If you got thirsty there was always a hose outside to drink from. hmmm, maybe that’s what’s wrong with us.
    I’m laughing at the “neighborhood mother’s KGB”…we couldn’t get away with anything!
    Oh, and the boys were never mean to the girls! Except for one, but he learned his lesson quick.
    luv ya’ll, Beach’n

  23. Even though I grew up in the suburbs, there was still a lot of outdoor activities: roller skating, bike riding, a long walk to the nearest 7-11 store for an ice-cold soda with friends. We had a regular suburban backyard, nothing very big, but we had a big tree for shade, and in good weather we had either croquet or badminton set-up. As a little kid I remember drawing a hopscotch grid on the sidewalk and we’d take turns doing that or jumping rope.

    In those days, schools were allowed to have one adult to supervise the playground on weekends, and without a park in walking distance the neighborhood kids would depend on the playground for playing on the monkey-bars, swings, etc… and as we got older it was softball or basketball.

    As long as I was home by the time the street lights were coming on in winter, or by dinner time in the summer, then all was good.

  24. I grew up in a small town in the same house I now live in. There is woods at the end of the street that had trails all thru it. I spent many days riding my bike in those woods. My Dad was a mechanic and worked on cars in the garage behind the house. I would go out there to “help”(I later discovered that I was in the way alot) and learned a lot about cars. Those were great times with Dad. I still earn a living in the automotive industry. I also started mowing yards for people around town. I would mow 5 or 6 yards every week and made $10 or $12 each. I was making a ton of money back then.

  25. Guess my childhood is so different then those that I have read so far. Spend most years with my parents out on construction job sites, and with the children who’s fathers were heavy duty construction. Best friend’s dad was the job boss so his children & I grew up together, the 3 girl musketeers. When they were not on job sites camping, we would spend weekends camping on Shasta Lake(back when it had water).
    As kids we spent our time away from other kids our own age. We explored the worlds our fathers were working in. So we traveled from the west coast to the Oregon border to local area when our fathers helped build the junior college way back when. Last job they worked and it was close to home, a rarity. Parents were referred to as ‘tom boys’, and yes that title fit us well, looking back on it.
    When it came to hanging out with the cousins in Lassen county, we ended up in a wrestling match. They thought that they could whip a girl. They were always tackling their sisters and cousins that lived there so they figured I was an easy mark. They learned differently, gave back as good as they could dish out(yes I was a tomboy) lol. My aunt & mom would shake their heads, aunt would give us money then send us to the local store for candy to get rid of us, and at times to save us from killing one another. Those boy cousins were just down right mean–lol.
    Oh, they forgot I was raised on a ranch, since dad was short of sons I learned how to do all the chores a son would do including helping my parents put bales of hay on truck, and stacking it.

  26. Watch that documentary “childhood2.0” on YouTube or Tubi app (free). Get kids into sports, clubs, 4h, outdoors! Hiking/biking/skating! Invite other kids! Get them out and off the device!!! There will be no regrets! Maybe some injuries, but they’ll survive! God help us!

Leave a Reply

>>COMMENT POLICY
>>USE OPEN FORUM for Off-Topic conversation

Name* use an alias