Kids these days are nowhere near as tough as most of us were when we were kids. Boy Scout leaders talk about how difficult it is these days to get kids to do things on their own and to enjoy roughing it in the great outdoors. The military is complaining more and more about the lack of toughness in their recruits.
The question to ask ourselves is why is this happening? Well I don’t have all the answers but there are some things I can think of that are different today than what we dealt with when we were young.
Let me start with the playground. When we were kids our entire playground was made of asphalt. Every time after recess kids would go inside and the teachers would bandage them up. School systems were Johnson & Johnson’s best customers for Band-Aids; sadly though this is no longer the case.
How about the plastic slides kids use today? When we were kids it was a badge of honor to slide down that piece of metal that was probably around 160 degrees. Those who did it with shorts on were the real heroes. Plus a lot of slides either landed on asphalt or on dirt that had been worn down so much we landed on rocks. Talk about tough! Now kids gently slide into sawdust that is so thick that small kids can disappear for ten minutes at a time.
How about all the protective gear kids are wearing these days? Shin guards for soccer, come on. When kids didn’t wear shin guards it was the best way to take out the best player on the other team; now you have to let the kid score on your child’s team over and over again; that’s ridiculous.
To make matters worse I was grabbing my mail the other day and two kids came riding by on bikes with helmets on, chin guards, elbow pads, and knee pads. They looked like Transformers…I couldn’t even tell whose kids they were.
When we were kids we didn’t have any protection beyond the clothes we were wearing. If we fell down off our bikes and skinned our knees we’d go running into the house crying. Of course then our moms would put Methylate on the wound and the crying turned to screams. For some reason it could burn ten times stronger and longer than alcohol…of course now it’s off the market not because it didn’t work but because it hurt too much.
Anyhow like I said I don’t have all the answers but maybe the contrasts above are contributing factors. We didn’t have a plastic bubble around us instead we’d get scrapes and cuts. Except for a few scars we turned out relatively okay!