“Childhood has turned from a time of freedom to a time of resume building.” – Peter Gray
THIS. This quote summarizes the main problem we have with our high school life or our teen life. We teens are subject to standards never seen before in history. We have to get a high GPA, we have to volunteer at a hospital, we have to join a club, we have to join a sports team, we have to take all AP classes. All in order to get into a UC and become a doctor and become rich and live in a big house and marry and have kids.
This is our meaning in life now.
This is what we are told by our parents day and night. How can we have the time to go out with our friends and do stupid things? When can we go out in the world and get in trouble? When we turn 18 and become adults we are responsible for all the actions we do. Throwing toilet paper at someones house wont be brushed as “oh its okay its just kids”. It would be considered vandalism. Its small things like that we are missing out on.
My cousins who graduated 6 years ago tell me all the crazy and stupid things they used to do. How as seniors they threw a mattress in Edison’s pool. The mattress absorbs all the water and then you end up needing a crane or something to pull it out. How they used to meet up at the Walmart and their day would go from there. One time, they stood out at a Home Depot and dressed up as Mexican immigrants. Someone needed work done on their house and they picked my cousins up. They ended up in Anaheim. Obviously I’m not advocating to do stupid things that will ruin the rest of your life but you know what I mean.
The TED video was perfect. It summarized all the thoughts I have while I’m at high school. Rules and regulations everywhere. You can’t do this, you can’t do that blah blah blah. YES there has to be rules I’m not saying we should live in total anarchy but everything has some type of regulation or rule to it. Everything is monitored by an adult and there is no freedom. One example is the Valentine gram. the singers are mixed gender now and they aren’t allowed to touch you. Wheres the fun in that? Like I said before I still believe that there should be rules but there its gone way too far.
So I decided to show it to my family.
Surprisingly my parents agreed with what Peter had to say. They also feel like kids are getting less play time. They remembered how when I was a kid I used to play Nerf battles with my neighbors and now my youngest brother, who is 8 years old, has never played with the kids in our neighborhood. My parents admitted that they are scared of having him play in our cul-de-sac without supervision. The video brought up an interesting conversation at the dinner table and I really liked it. Thats the best thing. Bringing something you learned from school to the dinner table and discussing it with your family.
The global school play day was really fun. I met up with people from Ziebarth that I knew and a couple of other people that we dont really know joined us. Someone taught us a game of cards called Scum that requires two decks. We ended up playing that for the entire time and it was honestly a lot of fun. It was nice to cool off and have a sort of relaxing period in the middle of the school day. I think it would be nice if we could have a day like this once a month. A random day should be chosen so it could be a surprise to us. Maybe everyone is feeling down and then all of the sudden instead of working we play. In the beginning I didnt participate in the card game because I was scared of being really bad at it. I pushed myself to join in and then I ended up winning the last round. So it made me lose my fear of playing cards. Honestly, the best thing was that no one was on their phones. Unfortunately, most of the time when you are doing any social activity you will have people on their phones. Peoples attention span nowadays is horrible and it kind of ruins the mood or vibe. So it was nice to have everyone actually facing each other and socializing to the people in front of them.
One thing I have to add. I do agree with Peter Gray and what he has to say about the decline of free play in children but I dont think its something that can be forced. For example, the global play day is purposely set up to get kids playing again. I feel like in order for free play to become common again, kids have to be doing it on their own. Another thought is that maybe that time of free play is over. We are moving into a new age of computers and electronics and maybe free play does not have a spot in this new age. All the new babies in my family are growing up with tablets and rather than them playing with toys they are playing with their Kindle or ipad. Maybe theres nothing we can do about the decline of free play.
Oh wait one more thing. This reminds me of the time we spent discussing the loss of social trust within our communities. Im thinking this is correlated with the decline of free play for our kids because parents no longer trust the outside world.