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A special week to take kids outside — how sad

Submitted by on Monday, 15 September 2008 No Comment

Once upon a time a little prince sat cloistered in his castle.

He cooed in a playpen as his royal court watched movies. As he grew, he was surrounded by the finer things — a television and VCR in his bedroom, a toddler computer at his fingertips. He had no reason to notice a world beyond his four walls.

Until one day, when the prince was 5 and went to a party with his family. The prince splashed happily in the pool, but when other children left to play, he peered over the pool’s edge, alone and confused. Children beckoned him to join in, but he didn’t know their games and running tired him.

Though I’m fudging details, the root of the story is true. It’s a tragic demonstration of why the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences created “”Take A Child Outside Week”" and why the movement has gone national.

Want more reasons?

Maybe it’s because I grew up in a different era, when there were only three TV channels if the wind hadn’t redirected the antenna recently and when kids went kicking and screaming inside on a summer’s night only after the curfew siren blew at 10.

But I don’t understand parents who chauffeur their kids when it’s an easy 10 minute walk to school.

I don’t get giving a toddler the remote.

And I grieve for kids so flummoxed by the idea of play that they watch life as if it’s on a giant TV.

I’m trying not to be overly sanctimommious, because I’ve been guilty of bouts of TV babysitting myself, particularly now as I grab stray time to work during the day. Big Guy has a few shows he loves, and we watch them together.

But at least there’s still time to play in the dirt and jet down the sidewalk, superhero capes flapping.

I’m planning to use some of the “”Take a Child Outside Week”" activities, because Big Guy is on a kick of proclaiming all my usual suggestions booorrrring. Who could possibly be bored with masking tape around a wrist?

I hope the prince’s parents try a few, too, but I doubt they’ll run across the campaign unless backers can afford television commercials.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Elizabeth said:

    “Oh, I couldn’t agree more! I’m certainly not the perfect mom (you apparently read my post on trying to outsmart the PTA!LOL), but I make sure my girls and I get outside everyday – at least while the weather is nice. I also encourage them to take dance, soccer, and ballet. Exercise is so important and it helps instill lifelong healthy habits.

    Btw, I don’t expect you to make Micecream and down amaretto sours. Truth be told, it’s really gross – a secret I’m sure you already know!”

  • Debra said:

    “Any gal trying to outsmart the PTA is way OK in my book!

    And, of course, I also have my ulterior motives for encouraging exercise. Wear those little boogers out so they can get some sleep and Mommy can, too.

    I bet Kahlua might work with Micecream.