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Curmudgeon's Corner

If it doesn't fit anywhere else, it fits here

Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby narcoleptish » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:02 am

Just a little Friday fluff.

This isn't an "In my day I walked 6 miles to school uphill..." kinda thing, but I've had some jobs near schools recently and am just amazed at how many kids are accompanied home (I've only observed afternoons) either by car or walking, by an adult.

Working near the school in Shorewood a week ago, I watched as the street filled up with SUVs and parental-looking people walked up and milled about waiting for school to let out. Same thing on Nakoma Rd.

Maybe this has been the norm for awhile and I'm just noticing. It was about 6 blocks to Marquette Elementary when I was a kid and from some early point in Kindergarten on, my friends and I walked it alone. Jenifer st. was a parade of parentless kids twice a day.

Is it protectionism? In Shorewood Hills? Gimme a break.

Feel free to add other grumpy observations.
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Re: Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby Endo Rockstar » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:52 am

Used to tend bar at the bristled boar after work at M&I bank. I made the mistake a few times of coming down Branch Street from University Ave as school was letting out at Sauk Trails elementary. Holy fucking hell, I used to have to creep along the street at 5 miles per hour because the road was effectively squeezed down to 1 lane due to the massive width of the SUV's and minivans lining the street. Not to mention parents and kids alike appearing from in between the parked vehicles.

Its a catch 22. Parents don't feel safe letting their kids walk to and from school with all the traffic so they drive the kids adding to the congestion. --its messed up. I used to have to cross a 4 lane highway to walk to school. I don't think my parents ever considered driving me instead. It would have been silly. Plus they usually had to leave for their jobs about 20 minutes before I left for school. I don't really understand how parents juggle their kids' school schedules and a job if they drop them off and pick them up.

-Dan Motor
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Re: Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby jjoyce » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:08 am

I think with a bunch of kids it's because they're scheduled pretty tightly and need to get to soccer, piano lessons or whatever right after school. Some kids are over-protected, sure. With others, it's a matter of convenience.
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Re: Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby Endo Rockstar » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:17 am

jjoyce wrote:I think with a bunch of kids it's because they're scheduled pretty tightly and need to get to soccer, piano lessons or whatever right after school. Some kids are over-protected, sure. With others, it's a matter of convenience.


I can understand that in some instances. But is Madison and the surrounding burbs so sprawling that kids don't get themselves to their after school activities? Especially after say 4th grade?
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Re: Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby narcoleptish » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:47 am

I can understand the scheduling thing for the people picking them up in cars, but lots of them are just walking the kids home.

And on the subject of kids with packed activity schedules, I gotta bow down to parents a little. While in many cases I think it's too much, just the idea of managing a kids life (or multiple) as well as your own is beyond daunting to me. I have no children and I struggle to manage my own life. Kudos.
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Re: Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby ilikebeans » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:15 pm

jjoyce wrote:I think with a bunch of kids it's because they're scheduled pretty tightly and need to get to soccer, piano lessons or whatever right after school. Some kids are over-protected, sure. With others, it's a matter of convenience.

Just what is the deal with kids needing to be busy with a scheduled activity every damn moment of the day? And not just during the school year, but all of the summer months as well?

My god-- I know one family where their kids (now nearly teens) have been, from about age 5, involved in one or more of the following, often in the same day: piano lessons, soccer, football, baseball, dancing, gymnastics, archery, horseback riding, group art... all scheduled in addition to any school activities. Where's the time for homework? Where's the time for just being kids and chasing the neighbor kids around the yard with sticks?

Of course, the parents seem to feel they have to be present at every damn event to provide little Johnny and Jane with support, so socialization with adult friends that don't also have kids at the same events has gone bye-bye.

Image
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Re: Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby gargantua » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:33 pm

Maybe a major difference is that the lives of the adults were different when many of us were kids. I had a stay at home mom, who didn't have a driver's license, or her own car, until I was a teenager.

I went to a parochial school, so my dad gave me a lift and dropped me off on his way to work. I went to St. Ray's off the square, so I took the North St. bus home every day. I started doing that in 2nd grade. It just seemed normal to me. The first few times my mom and sibs waited for me at my stop near home, but after only a week or so I was on my own.
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Re: Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby jjoyce » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:16 pm

Nothing happens in the neighborhood anymore, so if you want an active kid, you sign him or her up for stuff and you take them to practice and rehearsal and lessons and stuff. That's how it works. I feel incredibly fortunate that my son goes to school and spends half of his time in Cross Plains, which is sort of like Mayberry in that kids actually ride their bikes to and from school and baseball practice. But in Madison, you have busy streets and concerns about safety.

Example: Spartans football practices at Jefferson Middle School. If you lived right behind Jefferson/Memorial, your kid might walk there, but they draw from the entire Memorial district. When I was a kid, we played on school teams and just stayed after, but those programs are long gone.

People without kids need to realize that the world has changed a lot. When we were kids and could do what we wanted in the neighborhood, there were a lot of moms at home to watch over us. That's not true in most neighborhoods anymore. Also, the boomers upgraded everything, so the recreational opportunities you and I had have been gutted because of bloated traveling programs.
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Re: Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby mayact4 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:47 pm

Where's the time for just being kids and chasing the neighbor kids around the yard with sticks?


I've also noticed a distinct lack of kids playing in yards, at all; don't know whether it's due to overscheduling or what seems to be a constant fear of kidnapping (thanks to the Nancy Graces of the world, who never talk about the millions of kids who make it through every day without being snatched). Or it could be because of stories like this, that make it seem like the helicopter parents and nosy neighbors have won:

http://kdvr.com/2012/09/20/mom-arrested ... y-outside/
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Re: Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby ilikebeans » Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:06 pm

mayact4 wrote:http://kdvr.com/2012/09/20/mom-arrested-for-letting-kids-play-outside/

:shock:

We live in a nation of constant, unending fear.
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Re: Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:14 pm

You guys should move to my neighborhood. Yes, a number of parents chaperone their kids to the pickup corner, and stay parked in the SUV during the winter months while the kids play in the snow waiting for the bus, but from 5-8 PM in the summer I can't keep the little shits out of my yard. All of 'em.
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Re: Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby Stebben84 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:50 pm

In my neighborhood, Eken park, and my sister's, out by PD and Maple Grove, there are kids playing outside all the time. They are riding bikes playing in yards, walking to school, playing catch, etc... So I personally don't think it's fair to say nothing happens in the neighborhood. Maybe not yours, but I know of 2 that still do with what appears to be little paranoia. My sister lives in a pretty cookie cutter upper middle class area and the kids are all playing alone outside all the time. Mine is the same way, yet I live in a predominantly lower middle class area with some shady characters.

Sometimes all the screaming is annoying, but then again, they don't realize there are just blanks in the gun*


*Stolen from Emo Phillips
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Re: Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby snoqueen » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:00 pm

My neighborhood sounds like the Eken Park one. We have a little mini-gang (in a good way) of skateboard/little bike/driveway basketball kids who play outside all the time. One of the favorite driveway courts belongs to a family with no kids, but a good hoop. Someone built the kids a dirt bike track nearby and in the summer they're jumping and racing all over on their kid-size bicycles. This is the best thing in the world to teach cooperation, problem solving, athleticism, and creative play. I have no problem with a few music lessons or whatever, but being a kid to me means spending time playing with other kids, not under the supervisory control of an adult. I feel sad for kids who don't get this opportunity.

Maybe some neighborhoods are really so dangerous it's a bad idea, but the areas I know best -- east side -- seem to have plenty of play opportunities and function more or less like small towns.

I can't answer the question of whether this happens because the parents are working so many shifts they physically can't take the kids to all sorts of distant classes and teams, or it's more of a free choice and they (or their kids) prefer rambling around on the loose instead of going for more structure. Could go either way.
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Re: Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby ilikebeans » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:48 pm

NPR weighs in:
Do You Know Where Your Children Are? Is That Always A Good Thing?

... the newest 8-year-olds have 1/9th the roaming territory of their parents. That's a one-generation change. Back in the 1970s, 80 percent of British 7- and 8-year-olds were allowed to go to school unsupervised. By 1990, the percentage was 10 percent.
...
These days in the United States, writes scholar Chelsea Benson, "children spend an average of 30 minutes per week engaged in free play outdoors." Their parents won't let them out alone. "Children do not have the time or parental permission to explore natural areas and create their own special places," she says. "Unstructured time outdoors is becoming a thing of the past."
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Re: Curmudgeon's Corner

Postby narcoleptish » Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:26 pm

Gotta say, I'm a little tired of hearing about how "smart" all the young'uns are these days..... pardon me while I sip some Folgers...

A recent Rickert article used the familiar 3-word description that many seem to think automatically applies to anyone under a certain age who knows their way around a smartphone.

In the world of the hip, young and smart, traditional cab service alone doesn’t cut it.

Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/colu ... z2xBSrw4Zl


Another article about infamous Epic employee Brian Stowe contained a quote from one of his victims and although I feel a little bad about using it here, considering the context, it illustrates better than anything else the mindset that I think has been given to them as much or more than anything they developed on their own.

“Do you know what it’s like to have someone you trust so much violate you in this way?” asked one victim tearfully as she faced Stowe in court. “We’re smart people, and he fooled us. He should not be allowed to fool another person for the rest of his life.”

Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/crim ... z2xBY3iws7



I interact with a lot of these folks and while it's obvious they know their shit as it applies to their jobs and their little devices, I don't find many of them (or anyone in their 20's really) to be in possession of a truly well-rounded intellect.

I mean, it's great that you have the ability to basically run your life from a coffee shop window but I'll be really impressed if you can also:

Spell chauffeur.
Balance your checkbook in your head.
Jumpstart a car.
Find your water main shut-off.
Know what and where The Gambia is.
Name ten presidents and five vice presidents.
Calculate an accurate tip in your head.
Assemble something that came in 200 pieces.
Know what's recyclable in Madison.

I'm no genius but I know at least a little about a lot of things. I'm glad no one tried to tell me that I "knew it all" back in my 20's, (although the thought of that is hilarious) because then maybe I wouldn't have tried to keep learning.....and wouldn't have become the all-knowing anonymous internet poster that I've become today.

Excuse me while I get up and stretch my bad knee.
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