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Childhood’s End

Just before our server shut down (which was actually a ‘false flag’ attack by Mossad and the CIA acting under direct orders from the Bush Nazi regime in collaboration with a secret cabal of oil bankers working in cahoots with their Zionist paymasters) one of our readers, Simon Austin sent me this reminiscence of childhood in ages now gone by:

According to today’s regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s probably shouldn’t have survived, because…

Our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint which was promptly chewed and licked.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to play with pans.

When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip flops and fluorescent’ clackers’ on our wheels.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the passenger seat was a treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle – tasted the same.

We ate dripping sandwiches, bread and butter pudding and drank Fizzy pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.

We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no one actually died from this.

We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then went top speed down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us all day and no one minded.

We did not have Playstations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. No 99 channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet chat rooms. We had friends. We went outside and found them.

We played elastics and street rounders, and sometimes that ball really hurt.

We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits. They were accidents. We learnt not to do the same thing again.

We had fights, punched each other hard and got black and blue – we learned to get over it.

We walked to friend’s homes.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate live stuff, and although we were told it would happen, we did not have very many eyes out, nor did the live stuff live inside us forever.

We rode bikes in packs of 7 and wore our coats by only the hood.

Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

And you’re one of them. Congratulations!

Pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow up as real kids, before lawyers and government regulated our lives, for our own good.

I was one of those who grew up in the 1970’s and that is a pretty accurate description of my childhood. But perhaps it only seems so idyllic in hindsight. The curse of middle-aged curmudgeons everywhere is that they are wont to denounce the whole world for going to hell in a handcart. More realistically the bleak prognosis is just a symptom of growing older and wearier. Is that what has happened to the author of that letter?

I am no position to judge whether children now are any less carefree and creative than they used to be thirty years ago but I have to admit there is ample evidence to suggest that the author’s misgivings are more than just jaundice:

Salt levels in children’s food should be cut, the Food Standards Agency has recommended.

For the first time, the agency has published targets for salt levels in children’s food during cooking, at the table and in shop-bought meals.

There is nothing new about children having their dietary rules laid down for them but I honestly do not recall from my childhood anything like the ant-farm of busy bureaucrats dedicated to this micro-managerial task. I distinctly recall a time when parental responsibility was assumed to exist and was duly accorded some respect. Children, it seems, are prime targets of the creeping menace of nationalisation (for their own good of course).

Yesteryear is always a gilded age but the author has not entirely fallen under the spell of nostalgia. Some things have got worse and may get worse still.

38 comments to Childhood’s End

  • I grew up in the sixties and seventies too. I rode my bike all over the place without a helmet or kneepads or anything like that. When I fell down and scraped my knee there was no hysterical ride to the emergency room — instead I got painted with stinging medicine, had a bandaid slapped on, and that was that.

    The only meal manager was my grandmother, who insisted I eat all the fat that came with my meat because I “needed fat on my bones.” She grew up on a farm, where healthiness = fat. When I was a kid the only government food directive was the famous Four Food Groups — the meat group (meat and eggs), the dairy group (milk, cheese), the vegetable group (all veggies, and I think fruits also) and the grains group (which at that time consisted of — apparently — enriched white bread, and pasta — which was called spaghetti and macaroni) — and you needed to eat about equal amounts of each, as I recall.

  • Johan

    I never grew up during the 70’s or earlier. I wasn’t even born yet . But it seems like you had a great time. And right, the solution to reduce overweight amongs children today is not to attack McDonald’s and frett over how evil capitalism is, making our children fat.

    Force the kids to play outside.

  • Ellie

    As a teacher, I’ve noticed that kids’ lives today are much more managed. Not much free time, creative play, fort construction, etc., but more supervised activities, less independence. Seems like more whining, too!

  • David Mercer

    Simon just described my childhood in central California in the 70’s. Playing outside or reading were allowed and encouraged, only TV watching was strictly monitored.

    And, GASP, we had to walk an entire mile to school every day! Oh the humanity!

  • S. Weasel

    I saw something yesterday that totally pegged my irony meter: a local contest giving away kids’ bicycle helmets with flames painted on the sides.

    Flames–signifying that recklessness and dangerousness are exciting, desirable qualities of life.

    Bicycle helmets–signifying that no actual risks, no matter how small, are acceptable.

    I almost wept.

  • B.W.

    People, people. Bewail government micromanagement of children’s daily affairs (in the form of legal requirements to wear bike helmets, say) if you like. This is a site for libertarians, after all. It is idiotic to “almost weep” about the mere existence of bike helmets which, astonishing as it may sound, actually prevent many serious brain injuries. Prudent parents may make their children wear them, be-flamed or not, without somehow furthering the rule of lawyers or the rise of the nanny state. And as to car seats–please. While I freely grant it’s not the case that *no* children survived to maturity before they came into wide use, the rate of death and serious injury among children in car accidents has gone down dramatically, and even libertarians should think that’s a good thing. Why, in Cambodia you see whole families on mopeds: four year old crouching between dad’s legs, mom sidesaddle with the toddler on her lap. Ah, the freedom. Is it, in some sense, fun for the kids? Yes, obviously. Do they get to enjoy the “recklessness and dangerousness” which constitute the fun side of life? Sadly, no, because they are totally unable to make rational calculations of risk. A consideration of traffic fatalities among the younger set or a visit to a Cambodian pediatric ward might sober even the most liberty-minded parent into making his child get in the damn car seat. Yes, you are engaging in crochetty, kids-these-days nostalgia. You geezers might well been watching TV all day if there ha been anything good on in the 70’s, which there was not. I should know, because I was there, playing outside. After checking the TV.

  • Ted Schuerzinger


    What do you have to say about airbags, which governments force people to have in their cars, and which are known to kill children?

    It seems ironic to me that people can choose whether or not they smoke, but when anybody tries to use the personal responsibility argument as a response to the demonization (and lawsuits) of the cigarette makers, this argument is totally dismissed. When it comes to airbags, however, suddenly we not only have personal responsibility; we demonize anybody who is deemed not to have the correct amount of personal responsibility. If we’re going to ignore personal responsibility when it comes to a dangerous product like cigarettes (which people can choose not to use), why don’t we do the same when it comes to a dangerous product like airbags (which people don’t have a choice not to use)?

  • Ted: air bags kill children when the children ride in the front seat with an airbag on. Put your kids in the back seat and the problem disappears. Also, in many cars, the passenger side airbag can be disabled if you choose; a solution if your child *must* ride up front. Airbags save many more lives than they claim, by every account, so I don’t know if they can be called “dangerous” per se. They can be modified. I don’t find my personal freedom radically diminished by this feature of cars. I don’t think the government should wipe your a#% when you go to the toilet; I’m just saying there’s nothing anti-liberal about safety precautions for children too young to make reasonable assessments of risk. Adults may cruise the highways, helmetless, on chopped-out Harleys, at will, as far as I’m concerned. And they can smoke cigarettes, too. And crack. Go nuts, man. Just don’t cry about bike helmets for children. See my blog post (URL above) for more.

  • Sorry, no URL above as promised; click on the B.W.; or here you go: http://homepage.mac.com/jholbo/homepage/pages/blog/blog16.html#18

  • Dave

    “Today’s regulators and bureaucrats” are, for the most part, the same people “who were kids in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s.” The generation that produced some of the “best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors” also produced some of this nation’s most zealous regulators, lawyers and bureaucrats.

    There is definitely some irony in this situation. If growing up in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s was so great and idyllic, then why are the people who grew up then spending so much of their adulthood trying to regulate the lives of today’s children?

  • Kevin L. Connors

    And when we were teenagers, we got rowdy, some of use got drunk (or stoned) did stupid things and sometimes got hospitalized. It wasn’t necessarily a good thing, but it wasn’t a big deal either.

    To watch the news coverage of the “powderpuff” hazing incident at Glenbrook North HS, you’d think it was a national security issue.

  • Fred Boness

    When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s we had chemistry sets with real chemicals, pocket knives, polio, the pledge of allegiance, BB guns, duck and cover drills, Erector sets, skates, scooters, bikes, paint by number, chicken pox, war souveneirs, comic books, toy soldiers, sling shots, Heinlein, rock and roll, penny candy, crystal radios, Jello, fallout shelters, cars with V8 engines, picnics, Sunday school, and Elm trees.

  • Michael Farris

    I grew up in Florida (60’s) which still had gazillions of mosquitoes per square inch in the summer.

    In answer to this, the local government hired trucks to drive around all the streets in town throwing out huge clouds of insecticide.

    For the kids in my nieghborhood, _nothing_ was as much fun as following the trucks and riding our bikes in the “clouds”. As you might imagine, parents didn’t approve but they didn’t do much to stop us either. We’d try to hold our breath going into the clouds, but of course couldn’t hold it long enough and ended up gulping huge amounts of insecticide into our lungs (maybe that’s why mosquitoes usually stay away from me even now).

    Also, I remember, we used to cover up injuries. I sort of mangled a toe or two in a bicycle wheel once (and something pointy put a pretty big hole in one of them too) and I decided the parents didn’t need to know about that one and forced myself not to limp in front of them and kept my feet out of view (not that easy when your main form of footwear was flipflops). There were things you couldn’t keep from the parents but many smaller injuries were taken care of by sucking it in and dealing with it.

    Also, I think our parents pretty much stayed out of our emotional lives. They wanted us to be happy and all and were generally sympathetic when things went wrong, but they didn’t obsess about our emotional development.

    There is something to be said for benign neglect, I think.

    Oh, and real chemistry sets rocked! Don’t they still have those?

  • iceman

    This thread reminded me to this monty python sketch.



    The “We Were Poor” Sketch from “Monty Python Live at City Center” and “Monty
    Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl”

    Four well-dressed men sitting together at a vacation resort. “Farewell
    to Thee” being played in the background on Hawaiian guitar.

    Michael Palin: Ahh.. Very passable, this, very passable.
    Graham Chapman: Nothing like a good glass of Chateau de Chassilier wine,
    ay Gessiah?
    Terry Gilliam: You’re right there Obediah.
    Eric Idle: Who’d a thought thirty years ago we’d all be sittin’
    here drinking Chateau de Chassilier wine?
    MP: Aye. In them days, we’d a’ been glad to have the price of a cup
    o’ tea.
    GC: A cup ‘ COLD tea.
    EI: Without milk or sugar.
    TG: OR tea!
    MP: In a filthy, cracked cup.
    EI: We never used to have a cup. We used to have to drink out of a
    rolled up newspaper.
    GC: The best WE could manage was to suck on a piece of damp cloth.
    TG: But you know, we were happy in those days, though we were poor.
    MP: Aye. BECAUSE we were poor. My old Dad used to say to me, “Money
    doesn’t buy you happiness.”
    EI: ‘E was right. I was happier then and I had NOTHIN’. We used to
    live in this tiiiny old house, with greaaaaat big holes in the roof.
    GC: House? You were lucky to have a HOUSE! We used to live in one
    room, all hundred and twenty-six of us, no furniture. Half the
    floor was missing; we were all huddled together in one corner for
    fear of FALLING!
    TG: You were lucky to have a ROOM! *We* used to have to live in a
    MP: Ohhhh we used to DREAM of livin’ in a corridor! Woulda’ been a
    palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank on a rubbish
    tip. We got woken up every morning by having a load of rotting
    fish dumped all over us! House!? Hmph.
    EI: Well when I say “house” it was only a hole in the ground covered
    by a piece of tarpolin, but it was a house to US.
    GC: We were evicted from *our* hole in the ground; we had to go and
    live in a lake!
    TG: You were lucky to have a LAKE! There were a hundred and sixty
    of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the road.
    MP: Cardboard box?
    TG: Aye.
    MP: You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in
    a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o’clock in the
    morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down
    mill for fourteen hours a day week in-week out. When we got home,
    out Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!
    GC: Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at three o’clock in
    the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, go to
    work at the mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad
    would beat us around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we
    were LUCKY!
    TG: Well we had it tough. We used to have to get up out of the shoebox
    at twelve o’clock at night, and LICK the road clean with our tongues.
    We had half a handful of freezing cold gravel, worked twenty-four
    hours a day at the mill for fourpence every six years, and when we
    got home, our Dad would slice us in two with a bread knife.
    EI: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night,
    half an hour before I went to bed, (pause for laughter), eat a lump
    of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill
    owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home,
    our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves
    singing “Hallelujah.”
    MP: But you try and tell the young people today that… and they won’t
    believe ya’.
    ALL: Nope, nope..

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I read somewhere that the US government wanted to ban toy rockets on the grounds that such things could be used by terrorists. On that basis, kids, unless they happen to be members of the CIA or the police, should be banned from studying chemistry, physics, biology. etc.

    Of course, the government could also try and ban kids from thinking. Judging by the way our education system is going, it is having some success.

    Being less grouchy, though, I think the amazing popularity of video games and interactive games suggests the rebellious streak in youth is well and truly alive. Thank goodness.

  • iceman

    bad LINK — preview is my friend

  • S. Weasel

    If growing up in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s was so great and idyllic, then why are the people who grew up then spending so much of their adulthood trying to regulate the lives of today’s children?

    I don’t know about “great” and “idyllic” – just massively less hedged around with regulations. Kids were expected to do dangerous things, and it was expected that some of those things would leave scars. All part of growing up, as they would say.

    I think the difference is the average age at which people become parents for the first time. It’s been upping steadily, particulary for the middle class, and older parents are naturally more cautious and protective.

  • Ted Schuerzinger


    I’m not surprised you used the “personal responsibility” argument wrt airbags. If we follow that argument for airbags, why don’t we do it with cigarettes and say that if you don’t want secondhand smoke, then don’t go to a restaurant that allows smoking?

    In some cases, one may be able to disable the passenger-side airbags with a switch, but doesn’t one have to apply to get such a switch installed? Why can’t we allow people to choose for themselves if they want a car without passenger-side airbags?

    I’m firmly convinced that we’ve done away with the personal responsibility argument when it comes to cigarettes precisely so Big Government can sue Small Tobacco. And the state insists on the personal responsibility argument when it comes to airbags precisely because otherwise, it would be the entity responsible any time a kid gets decapitated by one of those things.

    We demonise the cigarette makers for “forcing” people to inhale second-hand smoke — even though people can make the choice to smoke or not to smoke, and even to frequent restaurants with smoking areas. But we demonise the consumer when it comes to airbags, even though they are truly forced to have the thing in their car.

  • Donnah

    Michael from Florida:

    My mom would never let me run after the fog truck! She’d close all the jalousies in the house when it came by and I could only watch through the window as the other children got to cavort through the insecticide. 🙁

    My husband grew up near a glass factory in W. Virginia during the height of the clacker fad. All the broken clackers were put in a huge pile in back of the factory. The gates were left open so all the local children could come onto company property to play on a giant mountain of broken glass! The children would spend all afternoon hurling heavy balls of broken glass at each other!

  • Millie Woods

    Well I’m the mother of some of those carefree sixties and seventies types and I often sat in the passenger seat of the family car with a baby on my knee. Then one day when I was the passenger in a friend’s car – said friend working at the Montreal Neurological Institute – she refused to let me sit in that spot with a babe in arms citing many incidents of babies horribly injured by having been in mere fender benders because they had had the bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I took her word for it and thereafter sat in the back seat with the children. Moreover being of the small persuasion I’m not entirely happy with the present day air bag situation, but I do think car seats, safety belts and the like are a positive step. And yes, my sixties and seventies kiddies used to get up at six on winter days and deliver newspapers on dark streets when they were nine and ten years old. Something unheard of today and with good reason. These same children used to come home from school on foot at midday for lunch where their favourite nosh was peanut butter and banana sandwiches!

  • Michael Farris

    Donnah: “I could only watch through the window as the other children got to cavort through the insecticide. 🙁 ”

    Dang, the other kids had all the fun!

    “My husband grew up near a glass factory in W. Virginia during the height of the clacker fad. (story of children romping on broken glass mountain cut)”

    Clackers made of glass? I seem to remember they were plastic of some kind. Glass? That does sound cool though. Some of my favorite games as a child included bicycle demolition derby and running our bikes into phone poles (I forget why this was supposed to be fun, but we were pretty convinced it was).

  • BW

    “the rate of death and serious injury among children in car accidents has gone down dramatically”

    Do you have any figures on this? Also, has anyone done any research on why serious injury has declined?

  • jay

    Ah the wonder years.

    Around November when the fireworks were in the shops I fondly remember the joy of using an old boke frame as a “basooka” launcher for the rockets and having pitched battles across the local stream. B4 you ask, by some miracle we all survived without injury but some local wildlife was dintinctly unimpressed.

    And now I hear that they want to ban all fireworks louder than a dropped book !!

  • Dave

    I don’t know about “great” and “idyllic” – just massively less hedged around with regulations. Kids were expected to do dangerous things, and it was expected that some of those things would leave scars. All part of growing up, as they would say.

    I think the difference is the average age at which people become parents for the first time. It’s been upping steadily, particulary for the middle class, and older parents are naturally more cautious and protective.

    Well, what is it? Is it more cautious parents or more meddlesome government that are causing the problems?

    I really think you guys are flailing at a straw man here. I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. I didn’t wear a bike helmet, I played with firecrackers, I chased balls into the street, I ate lots of food that probably still resides somewhere in my digestive tract, and I was a relatively conservative kid. The rules and regulations of the adult world rarely penetrated my childhood consciousness.

  • Mike James

    This looks like something which would make a great birthday or Christmas gift for a lucky boy or girl, if only this guy will just get around to getting them manufactured–please excuse my inability to post a link:


    This guy is making his own home pulse-jet motors, like the ones which powered V-1 buzz bombs in the War. Check out the homemade cruise missile page, and the pulse-jet mounted on a go-kart page, especially. Wish they had these when I was a kid….

  • S. Weasel

    Dave: people who make babies and people who make laws aren’t from two entirely separate species, and a sociological trend can have more than one cause. In fact, probably does.

    In the last thirty years, we’ve developed an increasingly heightened (and, in my view, irrational) sensitivity to risk. All risk. As though, if we only outlawed and regulated enough things, we could prevent misfortune altogether. And all we’ve really accomplished is to suck more and more of the oxygen out of life.

  • G Cooper

    S. Weasel writes:

    “In the last thirty years, we’ve developed an increasingly heightened (and, in my view, irrational) sensitivity to risk.”

    On that very point, Christopher Booker, in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph, has some revelatory statistics regarding the BSE ‘outbreak’.

    Apparently, far from the ‘many millions’ of deaths predicted by (you guessed it) The Observer, or the government’s own estimate of around 500,000, the latest ‘wisdom’ of the scientific (sic) establishment is that a staggering and “totally unacceptable” 40 of us might yet suffer the fuzzy delights of vCJD. And no, if Mr. Booker is right, I haven’t left any zeros out of that.

    If I were an incinerated cow (no jokes please), I might be asking for my life back at this point.

    If I were a farmer, I’d be hiring a hit-man.

  • I couldn’t help grinning when I read Simon’s offering. Grinning and nodding. I was a child of the 70’s and, get this, I still have my Chopper bike! No other object reflects Simon’s sentiments better than that magnificent machine.

  • Simon Williams

    All I can say about cycle helmets is, that all the times I fell off my bike, i never once landed on my head (palms got pretty grazed though).

  • CTamminen

    Bike helmets. Oye! Have you seen helmets on the kids riding tricycles? I have. Good Lord.

    I knew a kid whose house was robbed and his parents left bound and gagged in the living room. I knew a kid who set fire to herself while playing with a cigaette lighter. I know a kid who broke his neck diving into the shallow end of the pool. I know kids who got pregnant in high school. I watched a kid open a golf ball with a chisel and get covered with some white milky liquid which temporarily blinded him. My own cousin was hit by a truck and killed while riding a bike. No helmet ever created would have saved him.

    I never knew a single solitary soul brain or scalp injured while riding a trike, bike, or go-cart.

    What does it all mean? The very very short answer, I think, is that we manage all the wrong aspects of our lives and those of our children. Any pound of cure which can be bought at Walmart in a box, without some assembly required, is an instant winner. Anything which requires discussion, oversight, parental teamwork, long term committment, or looking different than the neighbors is tabled until the need passes, if possible.

  • I didn’t start wearing a bike helmet until my freshman year of high school, when I got knocked off my bike into an intersection. But then I knew I was going to have to travel on busy streets without bike lanes. This was before my home state made bike helmets mandatory for minors. But I know that when I had been younger, our primary cycling habitat was a local high school with smooth parking lots and ramps everywhere, and the idea of wearing a helmet in such a protected zone is silly.

    Also, my fairly libertarian mother thinks that car seats are one of the great all-time inventions, but that’s her *choice*… though she would refuse to start the car if any of us weren’t wearing seatbelts…

  • RK Jones

    I know a young mother who makes her toddler wear a safety helmet inside the house at all times because they have tile flooring.
    RK Jones

  • Nordic

    Patrick Crozier,

    Although I do not have statistics at hand, I am quite sure that both bike helmets and airbags save lives. Seatbelts save lives as well, notwithstanding the very rare case when someone’s life would be saved by being thrown free from a crash.

    The issue is whether the government should mandate that people use these safety measures. I know that my wife and I would never think of not using a child seat when driving with our two year old daugter even if the law in Iowa did not mandate them. This does not mean that I wouldn’t consider voting against such a law if given the chance.

    Something that has not come up in the whole nanny-society discussion is the role of smaller families. I have five siblings, and am sure that a good portion of the benign neglect that we enjoyed growing up in the 70’s and 80’s was due to the fact that our parents were outnumbered and overwhelmed much of the time, and were just happy to have the right number (maybe plus a few friends) of heads show up for supper each night.

  • Biased Observer

    Why is it that some of my favourite childhood (60’s) memories are of elementary school, where we kids would split into two groups at recess to engage in an impromptu “war”. The weapons of choice were determined by season: chestnuts in fall, snowballs in winter, spring-whatever was handy. One memorable time was when the building next door was being torn down. The pile of broken asphault shingles, when thrown like a frisbee, made the daily event especially exciting. The teachers supposedly supervising us were busy in a smoke/gossip sessison on the opposite side of the school, so it was completely unregulated without a safety directive enforced.

    Despite the glaring stupidity of it all, I do not recall a single fatality or dismemberment. However, I do recall it being a hell of a lot of fun.

    Now middle aged, I complete a risk analysis before any endevour, and proceed only after taking appropriate precautionary measures. But only because it takes longer for the wounds to heal now.

  • its jake

    nothing has really changed much since the 60’s, i wager. i grew up in the eighties and 90’s. the kids from the neighborhood still hang out, still play basketball and ride out on bikes, still go over to the beach and all that stuff. there were never any lawsuits that i ever heard of in school or between peers. we had sex-ed and d.a.r.e. and it was all just a giggle that we didn’t worry or care about.

    the difference in the author’s opinion between yesteryear and today, in re childhood, is the difference in viewpoint between experiencing that life as a child living it and the the viewpoint from an adult observing childhood today via the news media and the local grapevine. The news media and the local grapevine only report that which is novel or shocking, not the mundane aspects that every child sees for himself, the play and community of friends, et cetera.

  • Donnah

    Michael from Florida:

    The original clackers were made from glass. In W. Virginia they were made at the Blinko Glass Factory. They were pulled from the market because they were deemed too dangerous and replaced with plastic ones.


  • Roxy

    Some adults love risk taking. Others hate it.

    Children too can be perfectly capable of making decisions about whether they are or are not prepared to take a risk. Why don’t parents ask their children what they want to do? The parent could offer theories about risk and any other possible problems, as long as the parents coupled these with all the necessary qualifications about the tentative nature of these theories.

    Naturally, this course of action is only rendered possible by a good and trusting relationship between parent and child and such a relationship can be developed by taking the child seriously.

    Contrary to much expectation, children need and can cope with libertarian values too.