Thursday, February 12, 2015

Walking to School

This blog really isn't meant to be some sort of recap of material you can find on The Atlantic, but I found yet another video on their site that was interesting.  Wish I had more time to form and articulate my thoughts on this. But if I tried to make every post perfect and a complete overview of all my thoughts on each subject then my posting would be as frequent as it has been the past few years.

But first of all, I always walked to school growing up. And not because there wasn't transportation available. There were rainy days and other days when we were running late and my mom would give us a ride, but I would say that I walked or rode my bike to elementary school and Jr. high school 95% of the time. I even remember walking home in the rain one day. I was really upset that my mom hadn't picked me up. She replied that she thought I would enjoy walking in the rain. I promptly called child protective services.

I didn't love walking to/from school, but I definitely would like my kids to walk to school, for many of the reasons mentioned in the video. Great exercise. Great way to get to know the neighborhood. You are an overall better human and superior to everyone else.

The video says that less than 10% of kids now walk to school. I would have guessed the figure to actually be lower than that. I don't know why so few walk to school now. Part of me wants to say it all relates to the fact that parents today seem to be overly protective.   Which is an area I hesitate to talk about because it's overly discussed and analyzed at this point, and I don't have completely organized thoughts on that subject.

I personally fall on the side of being less protective, which is probably why I want my kids to walk to school. But using the term 'less protective' is so negative and feels terrible. As a parent myself, I have the strong desire to protect your children. But I also think you have to find the balance between understanding when you are actually protecting your child and when you might be hurting your child by stunting their growth because they have had their parent's shadow constantly over them.

I also think that there are unfounded fears and concerns that cause people now to be overly protected. I don't know the reason why that is. A theory that I seem to buy into is that mass media and global media has caused concern. Before you were only aware of news that happened nearby. So with kidnappings for instance, the only time you heard about one was if it happened in your neighborhood. If you grew up in a neighborhood like the one I grew in, that meant you never heard about a kidnapping. Now though, you'll hear about a kidnapping in Cleveland or kids being sold into prostitution in Atlanta.

Before people would only hear about crime in their area and would use the local news to gauge how safe or unsafe their surrounding area is. That arguably isn't even a good gauge for the safety of your community, but it's much better than using the national or world news to gauge how safe your community is. There hasn't been a rise in kidnappings in the past few decades. Violent crime is actually down. But there has been a rise in hearing about violent crime because of global and instant news media.

I suppose that it is good because it lets you know what is going on in the world and keeps you informed. Plus, "just because something happened in Atlanta doesn't mean that it can't happen or isn't happening in your backyard." True, it could happen or perhaps is happening nearby. Not arguing people should be ignorant. But the reality is that it's not really happening, or if it is, it's very rare.

I can't fault someone for not swimming in the ocean in southern California because of the possibility of a shark attack. After all, you hear about shark attacks in Australia or in northern California, so sharks do attack people.

They do, but those areas aren't southern California and even in those areas, the attacks aren't as often as people think.

But attacks have happened in southern California before.

They have. So I can't fault you for not going in the water.

You don't need to go into the ocean to have a complete life. You can have a great life if you don't walk to school. But there is enjoyment and experience to be gained from those experiences, at least in my opinion, and not having them because of the remote risk associated with the activities, just doesn't make much sense to me.

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