In those days when I was 3 I started with a tricycle and grew up to ride a bicycle soon. Childhood was wheeled around in the streets for hours in the evenings. There hasn’t been a road unexplored in the neighborhood. There were no adults tailing behind me limiting my explorations to the road my house sat on. No one stopped me if I wanted to pedal down the lane under the scorching sun. We played hide and seek, Cops and robbers, jumped over almost all the walls fencing every house in all the streets we had friends in. But what is the scenario today? There is still one segment of the society, the middle class, whose children still get to play like we did. Except that the TV is eating away their childhood too nowadays! But talking about the high society kids, their childhoods have altered. A 6 year old drives a colorful electric bike, and follows another friend of his living in the same street, then may be another from his school did the same! Their evening fun was not about chasing each other or racing to catch up like mine was. It was about showing off that “I too got the funky bike.” What is the child going to get by pressing a little accelerating button, moving slowly, often tailed by his mother who would fuss so much about letting her son on his own and watching his every step or a maid who would make him feel like the guarded little prince? Are children beginning to demand a gadget for anything and everything? Or is it the parents giving them things that limit their creativity and pull them away from outdoor activity?
Entering another house, I saw these two girls. They had a remote sort of sensor fixed gadget in their hand and a TV in front of them. There were girls dancing in the TV which these two imitated. They get points depending on how accurately they imitate. It was nice to watch and fun to play, no doubt. The father says, they don’t like to go out and play. They always sit around the TV or the Computer. So he thought this way they’ll be able to get exercise. He spent 40 grands to get his daughters’ skin to sweat!
They don’t just miss enough exercise to strengthen their limbs or the vitamin-D from the sun. There is something more important at stake. While we cycled together on our own, explored, raced, chased, fell down, jumped over the walls, climbed trees, we helped each other, there was a spirit of sportive attitude seeping into our minds. It moulded us and made us ready for a healthy living tomorrow physically and mentally. I personally feel that their current playing habits are instilling unhealthy comparisons and denying them the natural lessons of outdoor games. We as kids needed our friends to play with. We could not bear loneliness. But for most children of today, that is not the case. They love to be left alone locked in their rooms glued in front of their gadgets. Friend or no friend, they are okay. Are they failing to see the importance of keeping together, the spirit of making up for mistakes and the joy of dependence on each other because of their present ways of childhood?
Parents should wake up to the fact that their children need guidance, play time and friends. Costly gadgets eventually don’t express love or replace your time. And tailing them is not going to help them, just give them their space and guide them when they need it. Children are capable of turning waste into the most creative toys. They are always content with the little bits they have. Do not seed greed and adamancy unto them.