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Blackberry 08-08-05 01:46 PM

Go Outside And See What Kids Are Missing
Nice article from Craig Wilson, USA TODAY

Much has been written this summer about today's kids and how all they want to do is stay inside and play video games.

Allow me to add my two cents: Let them. Let them play their little games until their fingers fall off.

While the debate rages over whether their obsession is a good thing or a bad thing, I don't really care. If they want to hibernate until they turn a lighter shade of pale, fine with me. Their loss.

It will take a generation or two to determine whether these video-obsessed kids will vaporize into the ether or evolve into Einsteins. I live with an epidemiologist. I know such studies take time.

But years ago I gave up trying to persuade my niece and nephews to come outside and play. Summer or winter.

"Who wants to walk to the lake with me?" I'd ask. "Who wants to go cross-country skiing?" More often than not, they wouldn't even look up from the TV or whatever hand-held gizmo they were staring into at the time.

So out the door I'd go. Alone.

My solitary journeys always reminded me of those empty summer days when I had nothing to do but ride my bike. For hours. For miles. Forever.

I was bored at the time. The routine seems like nirvana now.

Not that I had a choice in the matter. I wasn't allowed to stay inside on a summer's day.

"It's beautiful outside," I was always told. "Go out and play." And so I did.

My colleague Cathy grew up in Florida and says she stayed inside every summer to read, but she concedes she was/is/always will be an odd duck.

Not me. Often I'd disappear for so long my dad would have to ring an old school bell to summon me home, a bell I could hear miles away. But hours would pass before it rang. I was free as a bird on two wheels.

Maybe you were, too. Maybe we should all be again.

Take your kids' bikes, ride off down the street and disappear for a day. Believe me, they won't miss you.

Ride all the way into town. Ride to the edge of the earth if you want, look over, ride back. You have all the time in the world.

Ride as if you have someplace to go. You don't, of course. Doesn't matter. It's summer.

Ride into the sunset. Get tanned. Get lost.

Ride to a friend's house. Then ride to another.

Ride circles around your cul de sac. Let the neighbors talk. They do anyway.

Ride to the store. Buy candy. Ride to the lake. Swim. Then jump back on your bike and ride some more. Just to dry off.

The day is endless. The bell has not yet rung.

And when it finally does, ride up on the lawn, drop the bike on the grass, run into the house and yell "I'm home!"

I can assure you your kids will be right where you left them. Heads down. Fingers dancing. Eyes glazed.


colinm 08-08-05 02:02 PM

Take it all away and leave the bike, and they will ride it.

I did.

mtnbiker66 08-08-05 03:10 PM

I am lucky to live in a great place with great places to ride. Two of my kids ride and one does not........well one rides to live ad the other rides to stay in shape for basketball.The cool thing is about 5 min. from where I live is a cool state park with 90 miles of trails and some great lakes.One lake is about 2 miles from the parking lot and we all ride there to swim.Even on the warmest ,brightest day were all alone.Most people are too lazy to walk or ride out that far.Just the four of us and a mountian lake.....thats petty sweet.

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