Hang on, I need to get some music going. I know I should have thought of it sooner, but there you are.
When did people, especially parents, become so paranoid? This is something I’ve kind of wondered about in the back of my mind, but only this morning did it come to the front. Why? you may ask. This morning I was driving back from Dunkin’ Donuts (because I felt like being really naughty, diabetes be damned) and I got to my court just as the school bus that was picking up kids was closing its doors in preparation to leave. Before the bus started up, a mother in a silver SUV of some sort who was parked at the corner pulled out of the court waving to the bus driver. When the bus left and I turned in, there was a father standing there, having seen his teenager off. I have also noticed that around four in the afternoon, when the school bus comes back with elementary school kids, there is another mother who parks her car at the corner, picks up her little darling then drives down to the end of the court.
If the court were a long street, I could understand this behavior. If the children had trouble walking, I could understand the behavior. But the street is maybe 400 feet long. Seriously? The little darlings can’t walk 400 feet and can’t wait for the bus without an “adult” present?
I am about the age where, if I had had children (or a wife, or a lover, or a life, or…), I would have a teenager also. Back when I was going to elementary school and high school, nobody walked me (or drove me, for that matter) to the bus stop, and the walk was a bit longer than 400 feet. Three neighbor children and I would stand at the bus stop by ourselves. We would get off the bus and walk home by ourselves. A few times in high school, I had to walk home because I had missed the late bus. I have to assume that most children of my generation had similar experiences. So why is it now that children need constant supervision.
Also, when I was young, I used to play outside with no adult supervision. I used to fall down, get scraped up, even bleed with nary a problem. I didn’t wear a helmet when I rode my bike. I would tumble down hills and jump off of and over things with no padding (except my fat gut).
All of this happened, and I turned out mostly okay. So why is it now that the little darlings can’t go to the bus stop by themselves, can’t play without ten pounds of protective gear and most of all, can’t do anything without adults hovering over them?
I’m willing to admit that maybe my views are a little harsher because I don’t have children. But still, I feel the stifling paranoia that parents are exposing their children to will create a generation of even more paranoid and over-protective adults. Do we really need that?
To answer my own question about when this all started, I think the pat answer is September 11, when we in America became a nation of people who were suspected of being terrorists by our own government (and hello to the NSA agent whose ears just perked up with this sentence). And perhaps the pat answer is correct: that all the subsequent years of government-sponsored paranoia (“LIVE IN FEAR! LIVE IN FEAR! THEY’RE OUT TO GET YOU! BOO! RE-ELECT ME!”) have affected us all.
I just wish people would realize that, while there are security concerns, there’s no need to be a hair’s breadth from panic all the time.
(See, I can write about stuff besides my own depression.)