Currently, children spend most of their time staring at their phones and tablets and very few play outside. They are inundated with so much information and entertainment that they can spend hours looking at their device. Many years ago, neighborhoods were alive with the sound of children playing kickball, chasing each other around, and riding bikes. The playing all came to a halt when a mom or two yelled, “Dinner time.” These are fond memories that I have of my childhood.
Over the last three days (runs), I have been reminded of these old times. Each afternoon, I have run by the elementary school fields and playgrounds to find tons of kids swinging on the swings, playing on the monkey bars, shooting hoops, playing soccer on the side field, and chasing each other around the other baseball field. I can hear the voices and laughter of the children two blocks before I even pass the school. It is so refreshing. It is so positive. It puts a smile on my face.
See, my neighborhood, and the neighborhoods that surround my neighborhood, could be used as the setting in a remake of Leave it to Beaver or The Sandlot. Each year, I forget this until spring is around the corner. The fields and playground next to the school are vacant in the winter, but the minute the day light becomes longer, the temperatures rise, and the snow is melted, the children are back. The residents are out in droves walking and running in the streets. The neighborhood comes alive. And I feel like I am running through the late 1950s and early 1960s.
As I walked back into the house and threw my sweaty hat and running coat (overdressed for a nice 40 degree March “Pi Day” afternoon) into the hamper, I felt good about my run and even better about the neighborhood. It’s good to know that there are about one hundred kids (including my own) not staring at their phones this afternoon.