Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sunny Day Sightings


In the early afternoon, I drive to the store to pick up a few things we’ve been needing at the house. As I make my way back, I cross over the railroad tracks and take my sweet time driving down the back road that leads to my parents’ home.

It is a sunny weekend day, but I notice the houses I pass have no signs of activity going on, even though cars line the driveway. No children play in the yards, no grown-ups on the porch enjoying this unseasonably mild January day.

Those are not things we see much anymore, to be honest. I know it’s a different world than when I grew up, or even when my daughter grew up, but I tend to think we’ve taken that a bit far when it comes to outdoor play. I’m afraid we’ve used it as an excuse when it suited our fancy.

I imagine most of the adults are inside checking their smart phones every few seconds, the weather, the news, the latest sport scores, scrolling down Facebook’s riveting news feed, seeing who had what for dinner, while the kiddos are probably engaged in watching a mind-numbing movie, or fighting make-believe enemies in some video game. America’s yards are mostly empty these days, and for that, I am sad.

As I make the final turn toward the house, I see them—up ahead, two young boys and one grown man, tossing around a ball, dribbling it on the driveway and hurling it toward the basketball hoop. They are laughing as they dart here and there and everywhere, their faces round and flushed.

Slowing the car to a snail’s pace, I can’t stop looking at the trio of players, relieved that—thank heavens!—there are still people who play outside. The man catches my eye and waves like he’s known me for years. I smile and wave back. He has no idea he just made my day.

***


13 comments:

  1. So, true. I can hardly get my oldest grandson outside. Our other, younger grandchildren play outside all the time but it is rare in my neighborhood. Some times kids will shoot hoops down the street.

    When our daughters were little, they and all the kids on the street traveled in a cloud together from one yard to another. We knew them all and all were close.

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  2. I LOVE it when that happens! And seriously... What is UP with people these days? Kids? Electronic devices, that's what!

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  3. Isn't that the truth? There are so many distractions nowadays. 70-something degrees here today and we'll be in the yard playing something!

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  4. Good Morning Friend, This is so true! We share our home with daughter and her family. I am always telling my grand kids stop playing those games and go outside and play in the snow. They grunt and end up going outside. I am always prepared with the cocoa and cookies when they come back in. Have a great day, Anna

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  5. So true!!! As a child we always played outside summer until dark and mothers would be saying its time to come in !
    In winter the snow just make it better to have more fun snow ball fights, sleigh ridiing , snow angels ......................endless fun from yesteryear !

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  6. We commented on this very thing Christmas morning as we drove the few short blocks to our son's house. No kids out riding their new bikes or roller skates in their pajamas. We remembered the open fields we had to play in, buildIng forts, and playIng hide and seek with the neighborhood kids. Hopscotch and jacks on the sidewalk were favorite pastimes. And of course reading ~ real books. Sadly, this generation doesn't know what it's missing.

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  7. Hi Dayle....Loved your insightful post. It's true that a lot of families no longer play outdoors and that IS sad. Oh, I remember all the outside games we played as kids----statue, 1-2-3- red light, and so on.

    Thankfully, you saw that pop and his kids! He did, indeed, save the day. Hope you have a wonderful day. Susan

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  8. I just couldn't agree more! It is just sad. My oldest son has 5 children and works hard to make ends meet. He cares for the kids during the day while his wife works, and then he heads to his karate studio at 4 to work until 10 or so. He does not have cable TV or video games in his home and his kids live outside after school it seems. His 3 year old is hardly ever indoors. He plays kick ball, basketball, and base ball etc. with the kids. Now most of the neighborhood kids end up in his yard too. Proving I think that kids REALLY DO love playing outside. preferably WITH an adult!

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  9. Well written!!! I think about this all the time. When I was younger, we were outside from the time we woke up until it was dark outside and we were forced to come inside. I have to make my children go outside and play and it drives me crazy!!

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  10. I live on a cul-de-sac where there are at least 12 or more kids--thank goodness, I see kids almost every time I go outside or back out of the driveway BUT I realize that is unusual. It is a treat to see them enjoying the things kids from a generation or two ago enjoyed.

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  11. What a wonderful post. I love going to my daughter's neighborhood- they are on a cul-de-sac and her girls are always outside playing when the weather is nice. It is fun to see the neighborhood kids gather together- xo Diana

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  12. Oh, I just loved this so much!!! Especially the part at the end, "...he has no idea he just made my day." That's awesome :) The weather where we live has been so warm the last few days, too. Just to stand in the sunshine and soak it up in January is wonderful! I have to admit, I am a little more "wired" than I mean to be...I really need to pay less attention to my own smartphone, but I do make sure to enjoy our time outside! Thanks for sharing, have a blessed day :)

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