There is a growing problem in this country. And it's not limited to large cities, or the beltway, or the state of Utah. No, you can see evidence of it in the living rooms and backyards of Anytown, USA. It's the wussification of today's youth. Now there's no need to concern yourself with this word. It's a scientific term, basically meaning "the process of turning into wusses."
Allow me to spin you a yarn.
Yesterday I went into the kitchen to fix a bowl of Lucky Charms, a not uncommon occurrence in Bachelorville. I'll admit I was a tad excited when I bought them Thursday and saw the prize was a Spiderman water squirter. So one might think I was thrilled when I opened the box and found the water squirter sitting right there on top. Au contraire, monsieur. (That's French for "You must not know 'bout me.") I was dismayed.
When I was a kid, cereal prizes were located in the bag with the cereal. Crap plastic toys and fake tattoos were buried deep within gobs of sweetened, frosted, or toasted bits of corn and puffed wheat. To find the prize, you either had to pour out the entire box and get in trouble, or wait and hope with all your might that the prize would come out in your bowl instead of that of your siblings. It was like a little cereal lottery.
Or worse, there wasn't even a prize in the box. And you had to collect the dreaded proofs of purchase from three or four cereal boxes, then beg your mother to mail them in so you could get your hard earned prize. Three or four boxes! Do you have any idea how long that seems to the mind of a child? It was like waiting on four Christmases.
But today? Kids don't have to dig around or collect proofs of purchase. The prize is right there on top, handed to them, like everything else. And this is a perfect microcosm of what is wrong with kids today. But I don't blame the kids at all. I blame people like Big Cereal. Oh, and the trampoline industry, of course.
Among the most tangible signs of the wussification of kids are trampolines with those ten foot high vinyl and net walls surrounding them. That's not a trampoline; it's a playhouse with a bouncy floor. I don't understand. Was there a sudden spike in the number of trampoline tragedies beteween the time I was a kid and today?
When I was young, my parents didn't overprotect me with a fence and roof on my trampoline. Half the fun of jumping on a trampoline was getting caught up in the springs once in awhile and pinching the fire out of your leg, or jumping too high and banging your head against that steel rail. YOu do that a few times, and you don't need a protective wall. You'll stay real close to the middle.
Then there is the abundance of protective gear kids today have to wear to ride a freaking bicycle. I saw a little girl the other day riding a bike with training wheels on a sidewalk, wearing knee pads and a helmet. Most kids are so loaded down with safety gear, you could shoot them out of a cannon and they wouldn't get a scratch. If I had ridden my bike dressed like that, every kid in the neighborhood would have laughed me straight into therapy.
Aren't we being a little too overprotective? I mean, what's next? Soft foam padding underneath swing sets? Wearing life preservers and arm floaties in little one-foot deep plastic pools? Can you imagine growing up and never having to have stitches or a cool scar or a cast for all your friends to sign?
Kids can barely even get into trouble these days. What's with these washable markers? A kid marks all over their clothes or a wall in the house. So what? It comes right out. When I was a kid, we had permanent markers. Heck, we kept Heloise in business. Not only was the ink permanent, but the fumes were so strong, you could get brain damage from sniffing one too long. And again, I turned out fine.
So you parents might be saying, "Bone, you make some valid points, even though you have no kids and it doesn't look like that is going to change anytime in the foreseeable future. What can we do to help our kids?"
Well, don't take it from me, take it from this woman. Who I'd be willing to guess not only doesn't have kids, but probably hasn't even had a date in fifteen years.
You give your children a TIME OUT. According to this article, "It's important to not spank, hit, or slap a child of any age." (Um, were my parents the only ones who apparently missed that memo?)
"Bone," you may wonder, "How long should my child's time outs be?" Well again, referring to our resident expert, one minute for each year of age is a good rule of thumb.
Now, when I was in school, if I got a paddling, I knew I was going to get another when I got home. Imagine how much better I would have behaved if instead of a paddling, I had been given a ten minute time out. And knew that when I got home I was in for ten more minutes. I shudder at the thought.
Seriously, when I was a kid, if I got in trouble, I was the one wanting to call a time-out. And if I had tried to, I am only fairly certain my Dad would have immediately called time-in.
This whole situation frightens me. These are the bloggers of tomorrow we're talking about. I'm barely even going to be able to enjoy my Spider Man water squirter now.
"I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way..."