Stop Neutering Our Kids: Protect Children by NOT Protecting Them So Much

The Scream. Edvard Munch.
The Scream. Edvard Munch.

Do we over-protect our children?

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There comes a time when you can protect too much. That time is now. Americans have loved and protected their children to the point that they are, in essence, neutering them. Even the girls. Now, if you think about that for a moment, you will realize how dire things have become when we are actually neutering our girls. That’s seriously hard to do, and yet, here we are, U.S.A. 2010.

Perhaps in the wake of WWII where so many folks lost their children, and where so many folks survived horrible things and learned new value for life, and where existence was funded by the diligence and work ethic that was not only born from the resolve and momentum of that great victory but also underpinned by financial discipline rooted in the Great Depression, those Americans gave birth to kids that did pretty well for themselves: a generation of people that were given everything by parents who truly, deeply and universally recognized the fragility of life and of the economy, and who found a fantastic balance between discipline and adoration for their babies.

A brave generation begets...
A brave generation begets...
... a confident generation.
... a confident generation.

These post war children were so confident and well grounded that they were willing to face the problems around civil rights, take risks, fight. They opened up opportunities for everyone and they did it while listening to rock and roll and smoking pot and humping anything that moved. They were out there, doing stuff, taking a different kind of risk than their parents, even defying their parents, as they grew up and boldly lay claim to their time and their place in the world.

They grew up and had kids and watched as technology exploded in an incredible computer age. Cable television gave us CNN effect and a 24 hour news cycle that could cover not just Somalia or Sarajevo over and over, but the kidnapping of a single child in a state thousands of miles from us over and over and over, letting us see and think about the horrors of losing a child to a pedophile or murderer repeatedly, grinding into our minds and collective unconsciousness the reality of child abduction as a real and legitimate possibility as if it had actually happened in our state, town and neighborhood repeatedly rather than to the one child the story was about—and no matter how remote and amazingly unlikely statistically such a thing was, and completely ignoring actual crime figures and other real data that might give peace of mind as they continued to improve.

We watched as the tobacco industry went under siege, and we were happy to watch lying a-hole corporate executives get called out for their lies. We saw images of black lungs, and cancer tumors and of bald people dying in the misery of a chemo fight, weeping amongst their families and dying terrifying deaths before the attentive cameras of charities who have lobbyists and PR departments like corporations do. We watched it, the commercials and specials and events and day time shows, the walks and rides and whatever-athons. We watched them all, over and over, participated in them, heard the messages on the radio, saw the billboards, learned it all at school. We got it all the time. Constantly.

We were told to put on our seat belts by parents who grew up climbing around on the rear dash and mashing their faces against the glass, sticking their tongues out at truckers and begging them to honk their loud, chromed air horns. We were told to buckle up. Given death counts. Watched “Red Asphalt” and gory videos. We get endless reports on the news, all day, every day, showing mangled vehicles, stories of dead babies and dismembered limbs. Lost fathers. Lovers forever gone away. Death on the highway. Guilt.

Don’t drink and drive. That was a big message too. A huge campaign. Drunk drivers kill tons of people every year. We all know someone who died that way, or at least know someone who knows someone. The commercials are on TV. All the time. On billboards and the radio.




We have statistics for how many people die in bicycle crashes. STATISTICS. It’s not a very big number, but if it is someone you love, then ONE is an enormous number. So worry is totally justified. Put a helmet on. Put one on your precious babies. Warn them of the danger. Make sure that they know they are in danger.

Make sure your baby NEVER sleeps on its back, “It will die."  That's what they told us in the Seventies and Eighties.

Make sure your baby NEVER sleeps on its stomach, they tell us now. Your baby will DIE of SIDs.

It’s safety.

It’s common sense to wear a helmet when you ride a bicycle. Just like how many states make people wear helmets riding motorcycles too. It’s important to make people do things that are safe. Tell them not to smoke. Not to drink. How to place their baby when it sleeps. Statistics are important to keep front of mind. Always. Put them everywhere. Terrify the drivers and the smokers. Terrify the parents. Make sure small children who don’t have a grasp of degrees or the perspective to process information know that they are vulnerable and have to take lots of precautions so they don’t get hurt or die. Tell them not just with the action of scared parents putting helmets on them when they ride and buckling their seat belts, but keep them aware of danger on the radio, television and billboards they see. Don’t let them see violence in TV shows. But do let them see their parents acutely aware of it.

Make sure they are afraid.

Neuter them. Even the girls.

How did our species even MAKE it to this point in history if we’re this goddamn fragile? How did our primitive monkey ass ancestors survive sabretooth tigers and mastodons and buffalo hunts and wolves and snakes and spiders and harsh weather and privations galore? How did our species even make it this far. And now that we’re here, is it really worth it to die at 85 in agony, doped to dull the pain of the whole body cancer we avoided in our sixties because we didn’t smoke? Or just wilting in some bed, alone with the smell of our piss, wondering if our kids will show up this week or next, unless we’ve forgotten them, in which case we’re just alone. Withering.

Is living that long our reward?

Better yet, how do we survive even to thirty or more? If you are thirty or so, how did you survive drunk drivers? Your dangerous bicycle? The lurking predators hiding in every bush of your neighborhood? The lead toys and the death trap of your crib (or bassinette or dresser drawer)?

All I know is, despite the fact that all of us are alive that aren’t dead, we are acting like we somehow narrowly escaped some gamut of near death experiences that can now be avoided by hyper-reactive safety measures. We’re making our kids into wussies. Driving them indoors.

1992 Buick Le Sabre.  It ain't "awesome", but it drives.
1992 Buick Le Sabre. It ain't "awesome", but it drives.

Speaking of driving, I haven’t funded a formal survey, but I can tell you anecdotally that I have three kids, none of whom got their driver’s licenses at age sixteen. One did at seventeen (late into it), another is now eighteen and still has no interest in it, and the youngest is seventeen and shows little interest either. The classes have been paid for, the driving instructor paid and contracted, and I even have a “practice” car (a ’92 Buick Le Sabre) for them to drive – nice big thing that I don’t care what they bump into as they get their driving feet wet.

But they don’t care. It doesn’t matter. They just don’t do it.

So maybe I’m just a bad parent. This whole rant inwardly focused on something I did to make timid kids.

So how come out of all their friends, none of them drive either? NONE of them. Okay, one; my daughter has ONE friend that got a driver license at seventeen. Nobody else gets them. Not till they’re eighteen or… well, who knows when, since none of them have them yet even that are eighteen. I actually have listened to some of their parents bitching about it when they drop their kids off at our house for visits or whatever. It’s not just me.

I bitch about it too. But, hey, maybe that’s our fault. If we didn’t drive them around, then they would be forced to get a license if they wanted to go somewhere. Us driving them around is enabling their lack of motivation.

Well, besides the fact that I can’t imagine why a teenager wouldn’t want this kind of independence given that being independent is supposed to be the core driver behind the teenage experience, we already tried that, cutting them off from a ride. They don’t care. They’ll just stay home. It’s not a big deal. Or they’ll get a ride from someone else’s parents. We’re all conspirators in this.

Or else they just hang out online. They like that anyway. All the indoor safe time has really given them a strong attachment to it.


“Wait,” you might be thinking. “That’s still on you! Take away their Internet too!” Maybe that would work. Except I tried it. Nothing.

Maybe I am a crappy parent who made timid kids, and perhaps those types flock together with other timid birds. Maybe it is just me. My anecdote doesn’t count. My fault and the fifteen or so families like mine bound by the flock-like friendship of our frightened kids.

Fair enough. So why are the people I work with complaining about this? Why are all the parents I’ve talked to at work bringing up this frustration of having teenagers who won’t drive on their own? Why does this come up without me mentioning it at all? Am I actually putting out some sort of unmotivated-driving-teenagers gravity thing that is pulling timidity-breeding parents into my work sphere, dragging them to me like some sort of bad parenting black hole?

Perhaps. But I’m willing to write that off as too unlikely for serious consideration. Which means it is something else. Something cultural. Something born of all that stuff I talked about before. The fear. The terror. The constant, incessant, endless messages of death and danger lurking in absolutely everything we do. The lead paint. The lead toys. The booze that kills. The drugs that kill. The terrorists that kill. The bicycle crashes that kill. The everything that kills and leaps out of bushes or confessionals to do damage to children.

No F-ing wonder they don’t want to go outside.

We’re neutering our kids. We should stop.

Based on 67,000 million children in the U.S. at the time of the survey. Quote: “From the survey of law enforcement agencies, NISMART concluded that indeed the number of stereotypical kidnappings occurring each year numbered only between 200 and 300.” (Finkelhor 943)

That’s a 1 in 223,333 chance if we go with the high number.

Of course, if we stopped, then people would die. And that’s the problem with the point I’m trying to make. It is a problem of the whole being different than the function of each part. The conflict of macro/micro and global/local. Theory versus individual experience. If I don’t make my point well, people will think I’m being cavalier, that I don’t care, that individuals don’t matter. And that’s not my point at all. I totally understand what’s at stake here.

If we stopped the campaign against drunk driving, drunk driving deaths would probably go up. That would be bad. I admit it.

If we stopped the tobacco education stuff, more people might start smoking again, lung cancer would go up. More people would die. Maybe less than before with modern medical procedures, but still, more probably would. That would be bad. I admit it.

If we stopped the perpetual newscasts that show innocent victims of child molesters from being played nationwide over and over for weeks and even years after, even after the crime is solved, parents might relax and let their kids play outside again, might let them ride their bikes across the neighborhood or, god forbid, across town. They might let them cultivate a spirit of independence, of curiosity. They might turn off the Internet, at least a little bit. But then those kids might die. Some predator might get them even though it’s almost always someone the kids know and has little to do with going outside. A relative. Or a priest. It has happened, after all. It is a real threat. In a way.

So, no matter what it is, metal baseball bats, bicycle helmets, whatever it is, the case on a case-by-case basis can be made for why it’s obvious we should get the messages out. All of them. That’s how our advertising based culture evolved. We just spam the shit out of anything we want people to know. Plaster it everywhere. Shove the message in everyone’s face until they get it. Regardless of cultural side effects. You will die.

Which is fine. Saves lives, etc. Probably. I mean, I’m not sure how many fat, pizza and Pepsi eating video-gamers—“assletes” I call them—are going to die of diabetes? Is there any kind of stack up numbers for how that plays against lives saved with bicycle helmets? Against lives lost to bush-lurking baby snatchers?

According to a National Institutes of Health - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Instute "Data Fact Sheet" asthma occurred per 1000 people in the U.S. as follows:

  • 1980 it was 30.7 per 1,000 people
  • 1995 it was 56.8 per 1,000 people

As of 2007, the U.S. stat appears to be 8.2% or:

  • 2007 it was 80.2 per 1,000 people


You know, it’s odd but have you noticed that the instances of asthma having been going up and up and up as the number of smokers goes down and down, even as pollution goes down in urban air too? Weird, eh?

I’m not saying I have the answer here. Probably need to do studies. Hire guys to do math and verify stuff. Let the lobbyists that represent the helmet manufacturers and cigarette companies argue against the lobbyists working for the career charity CEOs, the guys who build charity industries that just keep getting bigger and more permanent despite working very hard to, in theory, eliminate the very thing that keeps them in their fancy homes and country club memberships.

I’m just saying that maybe the “advertising” model isn’t the optimal model. Maybe we need to rethink the paradigm a bit. Smarter people than I am can make suggestions. Maybe we just need to stop. Maybe swap a few drunk driver deaths for some diabetes deaths. Sacrifice a few people to get tens of thousands of thirty-year-old assletes out of their parent’s basements and into a job, into life. Spend a little time swinging decision making back towards the macro level instead of catering to the micro, work on the global over the local, just a little. I know, it’s easy to say that, to consider theoretical ideas… until it’s someone I love that dies. Then I’ll sing a different tune. It’s true. So, I guess we should just stay afraid.

Or not.

I don’t think humans are supposed to live in fear. Renaming it “caution” doesn’t change the nature of what it is. Each argument for safety on its own is probably a good idea; each individual story very sad. But the net effect is neutering our kids.



Works Cited (those that weren't linked in text)

Finkelhor, David, Gerald Hotaling, and Nancy Asdigian. "Attempted Non-Family Abductions." Child Welfare 74.5 (1995): 941-955. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 22 May 2010.

Kaufman, Mark. “Decades-Long U.S. Decrease in Smoking Rates Level Off.” The Washington Post. 9 Nov, 2007. 22 May, 2010.

Munch, Edvard. The Scream. 1893. National Gallery, Oslo. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 20 May, 2010. 22 May, 2010.

A funny movie about the difference between being safe and being alive.

Do we over-protect our children?

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Comments 89 comments

msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

What a great hub!! I sooo agree with you. I was guilty of it with my only child until I realized, hey, he is the one who has to take care of his family later on...he needs to be free.

I cannot stunt his growth.

It will not be good for him.

Thank you!!

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

It's hard to do, eh Msorensson? Hard to push the little birdies out of the nest. But we have to. If we don't make them fly, they'll sit around the next and get fat until the cat shows up and then, well, it's a little late to learn how. Parents end up having to stay to defend the pudgy peeper and end up getting taken down themselves (if I can stuff a finanical model in there).

EnLydia Listener 6 years ago

Hi...I have 8 kids...all 16 and over...the oldest got her license at 16, the second did not get his license until he was in the army and married...the third got her license at 18, the fourth when he was 19...and 3 boys (18, 20 and 23 don't have licenses)...the last is 16 and she is not really interested.

So why don't they want that independence?

PrettyPanther profile image

PrettyPanther 6 years ago from Oregon

I understand and agree with what you have written. Another thing you didn't mention is how our culture vilifies parents if something terrible does happen to their child. They are accused of being irresponsible or neglectful, even if their child was victimized by someone else. I don't have any answers, but I applaud you for writing about it.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I threw my best guesses up there in the article, EnLydia. If it's not over protection and the Internet making their social live's one that doesn't require driving anyway, I got no clue. I'm just tossing it out there and hoping someone with pull and patience and maybe funding for a research project will peek at it. I'd be half-surprised if someone isn't already.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

PrettyPanther, THAT is such a great and really, really important comment. Wow. That's like a whole new hub. Maybe you can do that one as part of the hubmob too, as it is your brilliant idea. But it's so true. You can't protect them every second of the day. And on top of the fear of losing them, we have your point too... that in our grief we'll be accused! That's a little of "the guilt" thing I poked at early on, and the video that shows the "you know your killer" thing. But I didn't think about it quite like that. Super awesome point. Thank you!

raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

We process our children with negative images and dire warnings expecting positive results - it does not work - what do we do - we try harder - the definition of insanity is repeating the same action over and over expecting a different result. Your parents, my age group, were not bombarded with negative images, many of us did not even have televisions. How about we start positively processing our children??? Well done Shadesbreath - through the writing of this hub you have gone where many fear to tread! Good On You!

Misha profile image

Misha 6 years ago from DC Area

Great hub John! I was really afraid to tackle the subject, cause I got burnt countless times on many forums including HP for just hinting on parts of it. You are a brave man :)

mrpopo profile image

mrpopo 6 years ago from Canada

I can't explain why others haven't gotten their licenses, but most of my friends have at least the theoretical. I haven't, but my (weak) excuse doesn't apply to most, so I would assume I'm an exception.

This is a great Hub though, it outlines that maybe we should try to live rather than survive. There's a difference. A job well done, Shadesbreath.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Thanks Raisingme and Misha both. I know I'll probably take some heat, but I tried to be delicate and create the right ethos to carry my point... but we shall see. I was looking at videos and really having to make hard choices. Some would make the point stronger, not gonna say what, will give you a hint of (JBR et. al) but, yeah, this conversation has to be had delicately or it won't get had at all. We'll see how it goes. Appreciate the support from both of you. :D

Mrpopo, thank you too. We all live in our realities, I certainly wouldn't try to judge an individual on things (well, depending on how much beer I had, I might), but I get it. It's a macro-level problem. And I think you're spot on, "live rather than survive." That's a very good way of putting it.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

I agree that many children are over-protected against million to one harmful events. I grew up without being over-protected, and I don't think I over-protected my children who are now all strong and independent individuals who, most importantly, are supporting themselves.

The German kid on the video deserves a best actor Academy Award!

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Hi Ralph, I agree. It's definitely a many but not all thing. Just as not all post WWII parents "adored" their kids and not all boomers were deviant hippies too. It's hard to write about a big picture thing stuff, about a generation as if all its members were automatons. Just have to throw it out there and hope people are willing to follow the reasoning as intended. For what it's worth, my oldest is out on his own at 20 (albeit living with friends, but at least he's out of the nest; which can only be good for the future of his flight... I hope.) Glad to hear yours are doing well. A sigh of parental relief to have them strong like that, no doubt. (And I agree, that German kid is a real piece of work.) profile image 6 years ago

this is why I love hubpages. It had to be said, we're thinking it anyway. I'd be more worried about children we have made weak from overprotection than one's we've allowed risk taking. Well said Shadesbreath!

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I think the kids are still the same humans that have always been... they can be tough if they have to be. We send them to Iraq and Afghanistan (not making a judgment on the nature of the wars here... just the service) and they shine. Maybe it's just a certain type that goes, but I think more than just that. I think the kids are just that, kids. But maybe failed a little by a cautious society that is afraid to grieve for lost babies. It's selfish really, if that's the case. "No, Junior, you don't get to live as freely as I did because I look back on my youth and I would be horrified if you did that, so, no, you may not borrow the car."

So unfair.

Thanks, Psychicdog. :) (Still love that avatar. Sometimes simplicity is best.)

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 6 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

'Single issue' thinking is a big part of the problem. Someone wants to devote all his spare energy to evangelising lo-fat telephones. Such is the nature of the Internet that he will soon find ten more like-minded loonies and hey, we've got a pressure group.

Personally, I think my blubber-phone did me no harm. Certainly it was comfortable on the ear. But for my kids, no way. Hi-fibre, lo-salt, zero-cholesterol handsets, or nothing!. No hardening of the arteries in the inner ear for MY babies...

robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey

I'm still reeling at kids who don't want to drive--maybe it has to do with environmental issues too-- this generation is very collegian and very into preserving the environment-- dunno-- but I do know that this is a terrific hub, Shadesbreath and you made me think like you always do:-)

ilmdamaily profile image

ilmdamaily 6 years ago from A forgotten corner of a dying empire. OK, it's Australia :-)

Great Hub Shade, and I agree completely. 100% of people die from death - and that gets lost in all of the statistics and social engineering that's surfaced in the last couple of generations. It's part of a wider trend towards risk-averseness - the basis of which I don't understand - that defines any form of risk as being unacceptable. It overlooks the reality that every activity involves risk of some sort, and that a healthy approach involves recognising risks and managing them - not just burying your head in the sand and pretending that all risk is bad.

An example? The Australian government's website for travel advice gives the following recommendation regarding travel insurance: "if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel." Absent is any appreciation of the rewards that travel can bring to a person, and the capacity for growth that exposure to (the completely exaggerated) "risks" - no. Instead, your travel experience is reduced to an abstraction of numbers and financial liability. No insurance? Sell your house to pay for medical repatriation.

We need to recognise that risk, like safety, has an inherent value - as long as both are pursued in moderation.

As for the whole car thing...i'm not sure what's behind it. I didn't get a license until 23, though that was for medical reasons. I guess for most people though it comes down to money. Everywhere i've lived, owning a car is a hideously expensive proposition - the rewards of which ("freedom" to go wherever you like at the expense of being stuck in a job you don't like for the larger part of your days to pay for it) are completely offset by the costs and ready availability of substitutes (public transport).I'd guess also that urbanisation has played a large part in it as well. Most people on the planet today live in cities, where cars are generally more of a liability than an asset.

Good hub and well tackled!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

Shades - I've not even finished reading it, but it both brings tears to my eyes and a surge of relief that someone else grasps this and takes it to the next level, as surely only a person who is part of that post-war generation or their progeny could do!!!!!!! May I link it on my Magnolia hubs? I believe it would provide a bigger-yet look at the consequences of the WWII era and its aftermath which I might never be able to provide to it. If you'd prefer not, of course - I understand. But it is such a magnificent and true piece!!! I'm going back now where I left off to continue! Thank you for writing this!!

Your most grateful fan!!

Went back and read some more - have to tell you my pet peeve - and it will surely get me stoned: School zone crossings. Yes - traffic must stop while the kids are ushered across the street by a guy in a yellow raincoat. The kids laugh and talk and ignore the cars waiting for them to amble across "their" crossing. Now - no one wants to run down a kid. Common sense would tell a person going past a school just let out with kids running pell-mell every which way to slow down and keep one's eyes open for the kid who ran after a ball or forgot to check for traffic, right? -- But what in blue blazes is wrong with teaching a kid to watch both ways, be careful of cars and take some responsibility for his own safety?????????????

When I walked home from school, I never ever saw a school crossing with guards to make my way not only safe but exclusively for my use!!!!!!!!!!

How or when are these young folks to learn to be self-sufficient????? They don't learn, is my observation. In the parking lots, where there are no guards, they still expect that if they are there, traffic must stop. They amble (now grown up, of course) diagonally so it takes the longest across the car-paths talking on their cells or listing to their pods with total oblivion of anyone else! EXACTLY AS THEY WERE TRAINED TO DO AS KIDS!

And anathema to a grownup who points it out. This is the first time I've ever mentioned it to anyone but my late husband who died with my terrible secret untold!

Also - big fines to the person who goes 24 mph and exceeds the 20 in a school zone, - which by the way reverts back to 30 - 35 - even 40 mph where it ends, though kids are still in evidence past the arbitrary end of it!! How much sense does that make?? Also - the restriction lasts far after all the kids have cleared out. Another idiotic anomaly!

Maybe that message about the fines and all the other silliness helps deter the kids from wanting to grow up to be drivers! Whatever else they're becoming, including couch potatoes, mind-sharpness has not suffered!

Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 6 years ago from Scotland

I enjoyed reading your Hub Shadesbreath, I agree that kids are over-protected.

Health and Safety in the UK is getting ridiculous and of course the motive is usually to avoid litigation more than anything else.

profile image

WildIris 6 years ago

What a Hub! I dislike the driving kids everywhere business. At 16 and 17 my two oldest kids got driver's licenses. I refused to drive. They need to learn how to make their own connections, be on time, etc. I moved my oldest son across the country at 19 so he could figure "it" out on his own. That he lives in a part of a city where he needs to sleep with a gun...I don't want to know about it. None of my kids like listening to the news. They complain it reports nothing but bad news. Why no good news they want to know.

I think parents want to protect their kids from making mistakes that will follow them for the rest of their lives. Young people do some stupid things, and as a parent you just want to get them open their eyes, but of course as a parent we see life with 20/20 hindsight. Those mistakes are painful to watch but necessary to growing up.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

Another comment about school zone crossings: why 20 mph? An inattentive kid could be badly hurt by a 20 mph SUV! His texting device might even be mangled! When I was growing up, I recall Dad cautioning Mother not to "speed" - "don't go over 35 mph, Momma!" - and that was when she was heading to the ranch on USHwy 90, where there are still very few other cars to worry about! The daggone Model T wouldn't do much more than that! So why is 20 mph supposed to be safe for a kid who didn't bother to look for traffic? Why not 10 - or 5 - or better yet - just close down the street? Oh - I forgot. The parents have to be there in cars to pick them up and drive them the 3 or 4 blocks home! Wouldn't do for the kids to have to WALK all that distance and pass by pedophile-infested gardens and yards - or abandoned houses as the neighborhood may be!! (and if that's the case, the kids had BETTER learn to be aware and alert themselves!!)

De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

What if some of the advertising expense were devoted to cultivating a community feeling? Bring back the old style care and compassion for one another. I don’t know if people were better in the old days. I doubt it. But there was a willingness to chip in and help when help was needed, possibly as a result of past needs now gone by. And since people are susceptible to advertising, why not promote this community feeling on a grand scale? Look at us here in this Hubpages community. People care for each other’s feelings and behave accordingly. Could it perhaps be a microcosm of what might be possible?

As to being overly protective of our children, surely it must have something to do with the area one lives at. If you live in an area with a high traffic ratio, you might be unwise to let your five year old drive a bicycle on that road. But if you live in a quiet suburb neighborhood, it might be a crime NOT to.

Shades, once more you have managed to generate thought. :D

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Parglider: All my phones are totally high fat. And not just high fat, no fiber, but high saturated fat. The good kind, the kind that they used to have in McDonalds fries and now don't which is why McDonalds now sucks becaue the French Fries were the only thing that made me go there; it damn sure wasn't the hamburgers. IN fact, my cellphone is a fat piece of bologna rolled around a half-cup of mayonaise. Mmmmm, I'mma go call someone.

Hi Robie: I too am still reeling at kids who don't want to drive. Reeling my ass out into the driveway and into my truck to drive them places. /sigh. You know, I totally didn't even THINK about the environmental one, but that's another angle that is all about... "lower emissions global warming will come and YOU WILL DIE!!!!" MOre evidence, I guess.

Ilmdamaily: Besides a general "lol" at "100% of people die from death" (which was funny to the point I read it to my wife who also lol'ed), it's totally the whole thing in a nutshell. Your Autstralian website example epitomizes it. My god, really? Don't travel unless you can afford the insurance? SEriously? Skip out on life and experience if you don't have the extra cash to insure your STUFF? Emerson have a COW if he saw that. I bet he IS having a cow right now because we are talking about it and I just dragged his illustrious name into the sea of that kind of lame thinking. And, your point about cities is well made. Frankly, we bitch about that sometimes, living in a suburb like we do. You may or may not have noticed I'm a bit of a lush, and, well, we can't go anywhere and BOTH of us drink ourselves silly because ONE of us has to drive. In part do to the drunk driving penalties being stiffed by our accute awreness of imminent death everywhere, but also because we have no alternatives here. And, you're spot on about the work for the car versus what we might have done with the time not spent paying for it. Frankly, you are very Emersonian, aren't you? lol. He's one of my absolute favorites; now I know why I tend to agree with your posts and stuff.

Nellieanna: I just chuckled and nodded all the way through your reponse. I was reading it outloud to my wife too. She told me a story about herself as a kid crossing four lanes of a major avenue after hearing your response, so, hey, you gave me one story that got me a second. So, my wife and I both agree with you (and think you are funny when you vent lol). And of course you may link to this hub in yours; I would love to be attached to such a fine piece of writing, are you kidding me? Please do!!!

Shinkicker: Yeah, it is all about the litigious money thing, eh? Kinda like Ilmdamaily pointed out with the travel insurance. Screw the experience, the joy, the sense of being. Just, how much is it going to cost?

WildIris: You know, your kid sleeping with the gun will be just fine. Everybody else in that neighborhood has been fine too, except some random, really super low instance of randomness, anything that happens statistically is someone the victim knew and pissed off. I bet he's fine. He's making experiences and seeing things that will make great stories someday. Maybe he'll write them up on HP? :D And you are quite right about the 20/20 thing. I know I've said more than once that we are trying to prevent our kids from doing the stuff we did because we don't want them doing that, but, that's not fair. You're right, they need those experiences to know what decision making is.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Nellieanna: You got that one in while I was typing my last reply... and you're rant is really warming up. I LOVE it! I can just see your speed-demon Momma whipping along at a eyewatering 20MPH, leaning down over the steering wheel in reckless glee as the distinctive putputy hum of its engine pipes out behind. (My wife "loves your attitude" by the way.) I think we've spent too much on "diversity" training the last decade or two, and everyone is too aware of how different everyone is. Probably should have been spending that time on how the same we all are instead. But I guess that drifts off into another topic, so ... yeah. Thanks for reading, though, as always, I love to see you have stopped by. (LOL @ your water bottle hub, btw).

DE GREEK!!! What is up, my friend? And yep, I think some of the terror ad money could be used to fund a better sense of community. Little items like: Talk to your neighbors would be great place to start. Can you imagine how reckless and daring people could be if they ... no, no I can't say it outloud... it's too insane... but they could go up and meet them! OMG.

We have some new neighbors, very devout Muslims, pretty much all women except one older son. My wife is getting to know them pretty well. She's having a blast. Learning new kinds of stuff (this incredible new kind of coffee that is more like tea is her most recent discovery... and now she ahs to figure out how to get it here, because they get it sent over from Qatar).

De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Shades, I am a dreamer. I still believe in the inherent goodness of man. We have been trained in violence and we are surprised at the violence around us! There are ways to get out of this Hollywood viciousness and revert to common or garden compassion for each other through the same medium: Films. The government could solve this over night. Every violent, drug promoting film that comes out, could have the tax inspectors camp out at it’s doorstep for example. Just think of the results. Saintly films promoting the milk of human kindness FOR EVER! :-))

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

De Greek, I have to tell you, uh... that sounds horrible. lol.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

And next step, World Conquest!!! :-))

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Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

Shades: An intelligent, well thought out, and perceptive article. I don't have children so perhaps my opinion is not relative, but I have often thought today's kid's are coddled. God, the experiences I had, and it bothers me that kids today are kept from this exploration of new things and adventure. As for getting a driver's license, this is surprising to me. I had no idea kids didn't want their license. When I was that age, it was some sort of holy grail that we anticipated for months, studied for, and practiced for, not only with classes but the lessons with our dads on unpopulated roads and empty parking lots. Of course, we would use our new freedom for bad things as well as good, and yet we survived.

In short, I think you are right on: Take the leash off and let them run. How old were you when you learned to ride a horse?

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

LOL F. U. and your horse, Reilly. :P

And I know what you mean about the holy rites of driving. I think my Dad knew that if he even THOUGHT about NOT having me at the DMV the SECOND they opened ON my birthday terrible things could happen to him in his sleep. It's just a different world I guess. And I think we (I) are reluctant to call it out because we don't want to sound like that old man wheezing out a, "Kids these days..." lament. Maybe that is all I'm doing. F- if I know.

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Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Great stuff Shadesbreath. You a wise soul and probably a great Dad as well. Although I'm not a parent, I can relate to the terror tactics set forth by the media, advertisers, FDA, AMA and the like. They've succeeded in making "wusses"of us all, forget just kids.

As for me, I was only over-protected from boys. My Dad couldn't wait to get me driving a car at 16. He needed a chauffeur.

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

haha, Green Lotus, I NEED A CHAUFFEUR TOO!!! My wife and I are tired of taking turns designated-drivering (there's a word for ya!) and want to party with each other when we are at the same party. And you're quite right about "us all" being wusses. I mean, I'm not the sort that would ever jump out of a plane to "sky dive," but I do worry about flying and stuff like that more than I should. I do it, but the anxiety is there thanks to all the images that have been shoved in my head by Terror Media, Inc.

Lee B profile image

Lee B 6 years ago from New Mexico

YOUR KIDS DON'T WANT TO DRIVE??? Is it really because they're afraid or (none of my business, I know)have you just made it too easy for them not to? Like robie2, I just can't wrap my mind around it.

Anyhoodle, I have the same concerns you've expressed about overprotecting kids. I frequently wonder how I made it to my advanced age--no helmets, no seatbelts, very little supervision as a child, teenage drunk driving, oh yeah! Don't misunderstand, I'm glad reasonable precautions, such as seat belts are law now, but part of growing up is experimentation. And sometimes experimentation is dangerous and things go wrong. Today's children, swaddled until the age of 20, have few skills in dealing with situations that arise in adult life.

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Lee B: On your first point, I think it's a combination of both. We have made it too easy for them. Part of that is just habit of driving them since they were little, so you get into the routine, and part of it not wanting to make a big stink about it. Once you've had the conversation about, "We need you to be responsible and help the family out by studying the test material and getting a license so you can run errands and [cough]driveyourdrunkassparents homefromparties[cough] help out etc.," several times, you just stop.

I think their lack of enthusiasm comes from that, but also from fear that they don't even recognize. It's too internalized for them to spot.

And yes, I remember all that teenage drunkenness... and I remember driving to town in the back of my dad's truck. The wheel wells weren't wheel wells they were SEATS!!! And even driving around country roads sitting on the tailgate, our toes just above the asphalt watching the lines and texture whizzing past. All that is gone from their possibilities these days.

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secularist10 6 years ago from New York City

Cowards die many times before their deaths,

The valiant never taste of death but once.

--"Julius Caesar"

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Well chosen quote, Secularist. Very, very true.

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netlexis 6 years ago from Southern California

Good hub. I'm guilty of over-protecting, too, and I don't have a good answer other than... I'm scared for my kids. And then as they grew up and were off testing and experimenting, I realized I may not of prepared them for life as well as I would/should have. Fortunately, it's mostly working out, but I often have days where I wish I could turn back the clock.

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Netlexis: Join the club. Not only do I watch them have to figure out how to navigate from scratch through certain things, I find myself regretting the experiences they never had and never will. We all fell victim to the society of fear.

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks

Shadesbreath, I'm with you! It's not how long you live, but the quality of life that's at stake. Have you seen Ngureco's recent hub about "healthy life expectancy" as a percentage of "life expectancy"? He was comparing health care systems, but in reading that hub, I came to the conclusion that the people of Swaziland must be the healthiest people in the world. Their healthy life expectancy is 96% of their overall life expectancy, meaning that they spend most of their lives being perfectly healthy. Of course, their average life expectancy is about 39 years, but what lives they must lead!

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Hi Aya! I haven't seen that hub, but now I will go have a peek. Sounds interesting. 39 years is a pretty short span of healthy years, have to go see what he does with childhood in that figure. It is definitely about quality of life though. That video with the old man begging for popcorn is only the video I could stomach to put on here. Some of the ones I saw and didn't put on here were way, way over the top. I never want to be like that. I'd rather die long, long in advance of that. Our institutions are terrifying.

Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 6 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Shadesbreath, this is a great hub. I have eight kids, some of whom drive, some who wouldn't. So I made them walk or ride a bike. I refused to be their taxi. I also make the little ones go outside. We don't have t.v., so they are learning to be their own entertainment. I think we have an obligation to teach them to be resourceful and self sufficient. The rest is bunk. Anyone with half a brain can survive the posh life of the average american. It is just a bunch of scare tactics by the media, to bring the greatest country in the world to it's knees. The upcoming generations don't value their freedom enough, they have become complacent, and it's all our fault, for making their lives too easy.

Great hub.


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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Deborah: with 8 kids, I'd be making them go outside too... just for some quiet LOL! You're right about the posh American life. I mean, sure, there's some hardcore neighborhoods out there, but for the most part, America is such a great place to be. A shame to see so many not even recognizing where they live. Hopefully we'll figure it out... maybe we are.

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mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

Hey "Shades" now I am afraid to go outside, after reading this hub!


Nice issues you bring up about all the fear-mongering that has been going on for generations...I still cannot believe that in the city where I live, there's a river running through it, almost right into the core of the downtown sector and nowadays, THERE ARE SO MANY RESTRICTIONS for "using" the river... I used to wade in and swim in it years ago, when I was a kid. Parents nowadays can get a huge FINE from letting their kids wade across it. Kids nowadays can't tell when the river is at a "safer" level but when I was young, we knew to pay attention to weather patterns, etc. ie: if we'd just had a torrential spring downpour for a few days, we KNEW the river water level was HUGE and the current was probably dangerous so we didn't try to go swimming for a while. Ask a kid in my city anything about the river and they have mostly been warned off going NEAR the river by their parents...they just never think of being NEAR the river as an activity...I only see "whole families" picnic-ing by the river once in a while... when I was young, teens made their own picnics but I don't see this happening anymore, hardly ever...

...and the homeless can be ARRESTED for loitering around the river in my city...plain sober people, just hanging out by the river - cannot enjoy the peace when it might be the only peace they have for a few hours on a spring or summer day... Man r we a screwed up society, eh?

Kudos for this hub - you are "upped"

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Heya, Myth!

How sad is that that people are missing out on that experience. And, you know, that "teens made their own picnics" thing... that is so missing in everything. We did too. We made major outings, even road trips or big bonfire parties or just whatever. The sense of independence has been STOLEN from these kids. It pisses me off the more I think about it. I mean, I'm sure they'll catch up eventually, or at least I'm mostly sure they will. (sigh).

Thanks for reading. Great comment. More to think about.

TheCurry 6 years ago

Well, now the scaretapo are going to find a way to block this site as you are undermining their efforts to terrify kids and their parental units. Net Nanny and other filtering apps (work) will add HP to their list of vulgar, horrifying, adult content lists and people will not be able to scroll through your or others pages as they "focus" on their work.

Heck, China has probably started to hack into the site to discover the identities of all the people involved in this uprising. Hope you enjoyed your ride...

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

U may be right. There is a lot of money scare tactics. Financial interests wouldn't want people to stop buying safety stuff, and China will surely suffer if they get to make all the plastic parts.

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Cara Moffat 6 years ago

Very funny Hub and agree with most of it. However, I believe there is a current issue that is being "shoved in our children's faces". Our children are being taught to fear GLOBAL WARMING through media and our education system without concrete facts that prove it to be a realistic fear. It is a tragedy when institutions manipulate minds by selling a particular agenda as fact instead of theory. An even greater tragedy is when people have unrealistic fears rather than realistic ones. I also believe at the root of the global warming issue is a new network of businesses desiring to achieve profitability. Always look for the money trail! Please tell me you don't believe in global warming!

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Cara, I am quite with you on that, I believe. For starters, I have read outside the fear-lit and, lo and behold, did you know that this planet has had... wait for it... ICE AGES. And, if you look closely, you'll notice I have a S on that, indicating more than one!!! (forgive me, I go sarcastic when my hackles are up lol). So, yeah, climate change happens. It always has. It always will. How much humans have to do with any of it is questionable, and I think the fear/belief we can make such a huge difference is typical arrogance. People like to think they're so important to everything. Heaven forbid (irony included) we should just be little bags of juice and guts running around on the surface of Earth until we die out or move to other worlds. I'm not saying I won't look at the science and data, and I'm not so closed minded to just say outright, our lifestyles have zero impact (I'm not a fan of wiping out wildlife in the gulf or going camping and seeing trash everywhere... or a fan of smog clouds, etc.). But, yeah, I think there's a whole lot of fear mongering going on with that stuff that fits quite nicely into my point with this article. Better safe than sorry, sure, I'll play for now, but the fear stuff is annoying.

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Cara Moffat 6 years ago

There is a big difference between taking care of our earth out of respect for what God gave us and believing we have the capacity to completely ruin something we had no part in creating in the first place. You nailed it when you said it is our typical arrogance as human beings. Kudos to you for being a thorn in the side of popular opinion which is often the less analytical and independent one.

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Popular opinion is just mob mentality in slow motion.

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chasingcars 6 years ago

Is it a wonder that parents are so scared of life; we are constantly bombarded with the message we are to be very afraid. And isn't it ironic that the culture which coddles and over protects its children remain in constant war and that those same children end up in the most dangerous situations in the world as soldiers?

I live alone on a wildlife preserve and see, every day, that life is not a sure thing, nor is an easy death. The rest of nature is okay with that. Maybe we all are overprotected. Great hub. Thanks.

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

We don't like to think of ourselves as part of nature. We are an arrogant species that feels we are better than nature. Outside of it.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my air conditioner and I am perfectly fine looking at squirrels and snakes and cows and thinking, "Yeah, the heat outside in summer is fine for you, Mr. snake, squirrel and cow," (lol @ Mr. Cow), but yeah, all things in perspective, you know?

Great comment. Thanks. :)

TruthAwake profile image

TruthAwake 6 years ago from The Dirty South

Assletes....ha ha! This term will stick with me from now on.

Awesome hub, hits on all valid aspects of the issue with facts to back it up. Need i say more? Well done.

Oh and to add to Cara's global warming comment...DEFINITE fear mongering, you bet your sweet carcass. This is blatant agenda pushing, executed solely for the profit on human beings as "carbon emitters". Are you aware of the carbon taxes that big government is pushing for? Yes, we are all just dirty scathing polluters infecting this earth, and for that we must pay. Global warming could very well become the greatest fraud in history, if we let it.

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I'm with you on that, TruthAWake. Have you looked at H.R. 2454 the new cap and trade bill? Man. It's so outrageous I can hardly wrap my head around it. We're getting raped and people are actually being convinced they like it.

And thanks for the read and comment, by the way. I too find Assletes to be an amusing word. Maybe it will catch on and I'll go down in history as having invented a word! I wonder what that pays.

rgarnett profile image

rgarnett 6 years ago from KC, MO

This is a great hub! I agree that people have been scared into thinking every little thing their child does will kill them. Its nice to see I am not the only one around thinking the propoganda sucks!

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Nope, Rgarnett, you are not alone. I think most of us feel this way. The trick is, how do you fix it? How do you tell the mother of a child who was a victim of X, Y or Z not to go on a campaign of education on that cause NOT to do it? Not only is it the only therapy that keeps her from losing her mind, it is good information. That's the irony. This is something like that the road to hell that is paved with good intentions sort of thing.

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mysterylady 89 6 years ago from Florida

Needing a Shadesbreath fix, I picked this one out of the hat, even though I don't have kids. Even so, I related to it. I hear the same FEAR tactics. I smoke and I drink. I have three doctors telling me I must stop smoking. I suspect they also would like to tell me to stop drinking.

While I have valiantly tried to stop smoking, I still do, and I have not the slightest desire to stop drinking. Do I want to live to a ripe old age, fairly miserable, or do I want to live a life I am enjoying?

Shadesbreath, I bet you can guess which one I will choose.

byw, I wrote a hub I would like you to read. One night on the forum, I read a comment you made to a stupid hub question. I tried to respond, and then the forum disappeared. The Hub is not titled right. It should be titled "Censorship of Mark Twain."

Please let me know whether I should change the title.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I shall go have a peak at your hub right now. And I'm with you on the smoking drinking thing. I'd like to live a long healthy life, and I don't want to intentionally ruin my health, but on the other hand, like in that video up there with the old man, if THAT is what we have to look forward to, then I think I'd rather go out sooner and have some fun.

Mary Christina profile image

Mary Christina 6 years ago from Australia

I have a 15 year old daughter who is rearing to get her learner driver license when she turns 16. The strange thing is that I am the one who is scared of her being able to drive! I would rather she wait until she is older.

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Resist the urge, Mary Christina. Unless you think there is something about your daughter that makes her dimmer or less capable than the literally hundreds of millions of Americans that got and survived having drivers licenses at 16 over the last five decades (despite vehicles being far less safe back then), let her do it.

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eventsyoudesign 6 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

Good article. Parenting is hard. I inherited my husband's son. He is twenty one, schizophrenic, on medication, going to the TRC to learn how to be independent while living with us and not interested in learning how to drive. What ya gonna do?

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Good question. Seems alcohol is my solution of choice. I highly recommend it.

Scarlett My Dear profile image

Scarlett My Dear 6 years ago from Missouri

Great Hub, Shadesbreath! Your Hub comments are an awesome collection of opinion and thought provoking banter all to themselves.

I am a mother of three. The anklebiters are my greatest accomplishment thus far(can you smell the fear?).

I *am* that parent who makes their kids wear their seat belts, brush their teeth, text when they get where they're going on a dark country road, study hard so they recognize when opportunity comes knocking, study harder if it doesn't, learn to tell the difference between 'real' danger and 'fake' danger... but until they know, be wary of both, and above all ~ listen to their parent's advice/caution/fear-induced-and-irrational though they may be, because they're bigger, they're hopefully smarter and gosh darnit, they've been there!

With that said, I Totally Agree that we parents are overprotective to the point of neutering our children!

At least, some of us are. I have too much experience with parents who are so busy looking for their next high~ on life, on drugs, on anything other than their children, that they don't know when their babies are hungry~ for food, for attention, for love. I have too much experience with kids who are lonely, angry, repressed individuals looking for some outlet to release their pain ~ hey, I know ~ why not hitch a ride in the backseat with their parents and make life easier for all concerned... or not.

For those of us living in Fear that our kids will skin their knees riding down the biggest F'ing hill in the neighborhood on their Green Machine (that's the Big Daddy of BigWheels, btw) or have their hearts broken by some pimply kid who's just looking for acceptance or cry for days because that puppy you got them at the pound when they were two, just up and died at 13... We know who you are! Yeah, you. Yeah, me.

For *those* parents I have this to say, offer, advise with a tender heart and with a little help from

The Byrds~

To everything - turn, turn, turn

There is a season - turn, turn, turn

And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die

A time to plant, a time to reap

A time to kill, a time to heal

A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything - turn, turn, turn

There is a season - turn, turn, turn

And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down

A time to dance, a time to mourn

A time to cast away stones

A time to gather stones together

To everything - turn, turn, turn

There is a season - turn, turn, turn

And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time of war, a time of peace

A time of love, a time of hate

A time you may embrace

A time to refrain from embracing

To everything - turn, turn, turn

There is a season - turn, turn, turn

And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose

A time to rend, a time to sew

A time to love, a time to hate

A time of peace, I swear it's not too late!

~ Doing my best!

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Scarlet My Dear:

Turns out that with any introspection it's pretty damn complicated, and even paradoxical to live, ain't it?

However, if we stick the crap parents who are morons into their own category (which we don't, which is why our schools suck because nobody will say outloud: THAT PERSON IS AN UNFIT PARENT AND THEIR STUDENT SUCKS BECAUSE THEY ARE MORONS), but, if we pretend we did actually say that, then what's left is the rest of us not cutting off our kids... uh... important parts. There is a time to live and a time to die. And as parents we want the die part to be never. But if that means our kids have to live in a bubble and not have sex 'till their 52 because they might die of aids, and not drive till their 22 because they could get in a wreck and die and not play outside because a molestor could get them... then, well, I guess we shouldn't be surprised when all they want to do is play video games, be on facebook and text one another.


(Thanks for a really great comment.)

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Scarlett My Dear 6 years ago from Missouri

Had to come back, Shade. I hope I'm not being too familiar too quickly? I really am enjoying these comments/discussion.

You are very right, of course. My kids, btw, are 17, 14(the girl) and 12. Two of them still young enough to be whisked away, from our own front yard no less, to nightmare land, where bad people really do lurk and children sometimes don't come back. It happened here, too close to home, literally, just a few years ago.

Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby's (my oldest son's school friend at the time)parents thought their kids would be safe, riding their bike on a country road, hopping off of a bus no more than a hundred yards from their front door, no more than a mile or two from mine. And though, yes, the statistics are inflated, misrepresented with the intention of gaining ratings for a two-bit news station, local or otherwise, It does happen. Enter Real Fear.

Our third, which is our first, old enough for lots of things, makes my hair stand on end, but not just out of fear. I Fear that he'll not protect himself and others by disregarding our advice on good, 'safe' sex. I Fear that he will have his heart broken... too late there. I Fear that he won't take school just a little more seriously at this age, and will miss out, as I did, on so much opportunity in his life for furthering his education, whether that education takes him through college or simply opens his mind and heart to the world out there waiting for him to fly.

But, I am also Excited for him! Sex is awesome, Love is great, until it's not, College can wait if you have drive and are self-motivated.

These past three years have been a true test for us as parents. How do I tell my teenager, Yeah, drugs are bad kid. When what I really want to say, now that he's older, wiser and knows himself a little better than he did say, in 8th grade... Live your life to the fullest! Experiment, if you want to, with everything and nothing. Try a cigarette, don't like it. Try pot, Love it, but know your limitations. Try sex, Love it, 'cause it makes babies too ya know, and I want grandchildren and I want you to know yourself better through becoming a parent. Speed, get a ticket, slow down next time... don't kill yourself or another. Fight for Love, Truth, Your Rights, and know when you don't need to anymore. These Big Bad Scary things in Life I want desperately for my kids, because *that* is the Human Experience and that, and MUCH more will help you find yourself.

Thank you, for a great hub! ~Scarlett

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I can't say I disagree with anything you're saying here either. We know for certain we get this life on Earth. Some way we get a life after. Some say we keep coming back for more. I don't know if any of that stuff is true, but I do know we get this one because I have the evidence of it being here. I think you are right to encourage finding joy in life, however that manifests for each individual (so long as it is not the joy of being an a-hole lol). There is some kind of balance between prudence and adventure. Striking it is the essence of the game.

Stan Fletcher profile image

Stan Fletcher 6 years ago from Nashville, TN

I just watched the 'can i please have some popcorn' video and am now going to climb into my bathtub, put on some devil rock, and slit my wrists. Great hub though.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Hi Stan. Yeah, these videos are pretty hard to sit through. Nice to have someone read this hub, so I'm glad you happened along on it. It's not my usual fare, that's sure.

rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

thanks for posting a link to this in the forums. I applaud you for writing an insightful, important hub about our future generations. Having been a teacher in both public and private schools, you can imagine I've seen some extremes among the well-balanced kids. There have been times when I've had to hold my tongue and not say what I wanted to say when I see a parent coddle a child who got in trouble that day for kicking a teacher and hitting a child in the face. Parents do over-protect their kids, not realizing the dreadful effects that face them when their child turns 16, or even as young adults. I've seen some violent, scary 5 year olds.

My sons lost their father at the ages of 16 and 12. There was a natural instinct within me to protect them, but over time, I saw that I needed to let them go through what they needed to go through. They had to experience the ups and downs of life and they've come through some tough lessons, but I believe they're stronger and more responsible now because I didn't try to do everything for them (plus I couldn't even if I tried.)

I don't know about the kids not wanting to drive. I definitely did not have that issue. Do you think it's because of your location? Isn't the driving terrible in California? I know it was when I was there! Just tell them, hey, it's time to get your license. No more rides, end of conversation. := keep us posted!

Jewels profile image

Jewels 6 years ago from Australia

It is becoming very apparent that we exist on this planet but don't actually live.

A wise person once said "A parent's role is to create a space for self realization. You have a fundamental responsibility to do this. The child will wither otherwise."

I think the German child has withered demonstrably. If that's self realization I'd be asking God for a refund!

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

RebekahELLE, thanks for reading. I have tons of teachers in my family, and they tell me the same sorts of things you describe. I'm fairly sure it's ubiquitous at this point, a generation of entitled, undisciplined little monsters who can't read or think. Very scary, because those are the kinds of people who are very easily recruited into almost any "instant gratification" group, cause or promise.

I'm sorry to hear about your loss, but it sounds like you did right by your boys. That's important. I'm glad you found the strength to be strong. It seems redundant, but it's not. (As far as the driving thing, it's not California that I know of. People online complain about it from across the country that I've talked to. There's something going on. A trend. Internet related, video game related, plus over-caution and over fear all working together. But, the upside for me is that I have 2 of three of my kids driving finally, although one of them didn't get it till 18, and the other 19. I'm hoping we can get our daughter to finish while she's 18, since 19 clearly ain't happening).

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Hi Jewels,

You ain't kidding about that German kid. What a piece of work. And while it's possible he's just got some issues, I bet his parents created that little monster by NOT taking care of that fundamental responsibility. I doubt they'll get a refund either. Just a long life dealing with that little freak they made.

ConspireToInspire profile image

ConspireToInspire 5 years ago

I would like to reference my latest hub, but that would be conceited. Dang...look what I just did.

To be serious, I completely agree. As a child becoming an adult I see it all to clearly, in my raising and in others. We are truly pounded into fearful submission by ever medium possible. What can we do?

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California Author

You must mean this hub:

I just read it. It's very good, in content and writing style.

As far as what we can do; we're doing it I guess. Point it out. I imagine as the next generation or two realizes how BORING their lives are, and sees how stupid and cowering we became after victims became the center of our entire universe rather than teaching strength for the sake of it with the understanding that from strength comes a reduction in victimization, etc.... they'll just throw off the last vestiges of the hippy plague that has gutted us.

Karen Wodke profile image

Karen Wodke 5 years ago from Midwest

Shades, what an awesome post. I remember playing outside until supper time, riding bikes without helmets and knee pads, and having the whole back seat to myself sometimes with nary a seat belt in sight. But I didn't raise my kids that way. The world seemed much too dangerous to give them the kind of freedom I enjoyed. So, go figure. But they got more freedom than today's kids do. Which is a scary thought.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California Author

Tyranny of the scared and well-intended. The whole paving the road to hell thing.

Thanks for reading, Karen. :)

daviddwarren22 profile image

daviddwarren22 5 years ago

Great information! Thanks for sharing.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California Author

Your welcome, Daviddwarren22. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

Kathryn L Hill profile image

Kathryn L Hill 5 years ago from LA

We all need to get back to nature... again. We need to hike in the mountains, swim and surf in the ocean, find places to skinny dip, in the mountains or up the coast. I know those beautiful spots are still somewhere. In the golden ages we rode mini bikes, motorbikes, fixed, drove and raced our fast cars, drove our parents' speed boats, We loved to water ski, and snow ski. We were coordinated and skillful in so many areas. Of course we ate good food and had strong muscles and capable brains. We were allowed to knock around and hang out in the park, or down the street. We grew up walking, skateboarding or bike riding wherever we wanted to go. 5 miles was nothing. Things are so different now and the vigorous life we all led has slipped away... it has just slipped away. Maybe if we ate simpler, better food... home cooked meals, less microwaved, "food" and processed food. Maybe we could start acting less like we're scared all the time. Maybe we would FEEL more robust and confident!

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California Author

Hi Kathryn. While I don't know what to think about the way we cook, there is something to how we eat (or don't eat) together. The family time turned into TV time, which leads to more inundation from media about danger at every corner, lurking predators, unhealthy foods that will kill you, unhealthy air that will kill you, etc., etc. You're quite right that people need to go outside and LIVE. But, I suppose they won't. We can all get our pleasure principles met electronically. Our need for adventure (our need for the endorphin release of adventure) can be met through video games now. Why risk injury (or experience), eh?

I do think that part of the problem is that organized sports, the kind we play as kids, go away when we get older. We place no value (spend no money on) organized sports for ourselves. I'd play basketball or volleyball in leagues if there were any near me often enough to make it something I could do daily to stay in shape. But there isn't. Add to that the fact that health care is such a rip off, nobody who has a job can afford to be too active lest the risk injury and the subsequent problems there. While the Occupy Wallstreet people may not know what they are about, I suspect all of this is what they are angry about (at least some of them).

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SilverGenes 5 years ago

This hub really hits the mark. I'm from that Boomer generation when kids didn't wear seat belts and stayed outside all day until the street lights came on. My son was born when I was very young and I pretty much raised him the way I was raised. We lived in cougar country and it was not unusual to see the big cats streaking across the lawn outside our dining room window. The solution was to make sure my 12-year-old son knew to always have our German Shepherd with him when he was outside playing with friends and if there were an attack, he was to run and not try to save the dog. (Cougars do not like dogs and will usually avoid them but in a fight, it's really no contest.) When my daughter was born (19 years after my son) cougars and bears were still in our lives but so were big sticks and common sense. It all fell apart when we moved into the towns and cities. People and artificial environments were perceived as more dangerous! Anyway, it left me with a feeling that when we live in or close to the natural world, we don't need video games to heighten our awareness. After all, if we are not aware on the ocean or in the woods, we are not here long. In the city, we manufacture everything from food to fear and the reactions are just as aberrant. Just a thought.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California Author

What a cool thought... outdoors WAS the video game. The "monsters" were real. Prepped you for real life and you didn't grow up feeling so helpless you had to live in your mommies basement like an unfathomable percentage of modern people do.

Kathryn L Hill profile image

Kathryn L Hill 5 years ago from LA

Anger has led to fear. Here in this land of freedom we have given our freedom up. We are angry because we do not tune into our power of movement. And we have not developed our talents or appreciated our talents and we need to value and encourage each others talents. We need to guide our wills and find our passions and not let ourselves get shut down BY ANYTHING. We have to get up against the tide of technology and say, The new frontier is not the computer... The new frontier is not the media ... The new frontier is not mars or jupiter or saturn or the black hole that will take us to some other screwed up world.. The new frontier is our own psyche.. our own soul-run brains! Lets go inside. Thanks for a great Hub!

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California Author

What a wonderfully hopeful comment, Kathryn. After a long day today, it was nice to come home and see such an optimistic bit of positivity. Thanks. :)

Kathryn L Hill profile image

Kathryn L Hill 5 years ago from LA

Thank you for isolating the difficulties we face. By isolating the difficulty we can deal with the problem. By knowing the facts the choices become clear. I also appreciate honest insights.

SpeakUpStandOut profile image

SpeakUpStandOut 4 years ago from Southern California

Children need boundaries, and parents need to use their good judgement when deciding which battles to pick and which to let go. Children should wear their seatbelts, they shouldn't smoke and they should not text and drive. Your child does have a greater risk of sids if you lie them on their stomach, but if you're willing to take the risk, that is a personal choice. I think, people need to be educated on the facts and then make the decision that is best for them and their families. Just because something is legal does not make it ethical, and just because kids used to hop around the backseat without being properly secured, doesn't mean it's a good idea. I would never put my kid in the care without buckling them up; some people feel differently, but then, it is your kids life, if you want to risk it by not buckling them, that again, is a personal choice.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 4 years ago from California Author

I'm with you on the seatbelt thing, especially for kids. But some behaviors, riding motorcycles for example, are in their own way acts of rebellion, expressions of personal liberty. I think having the personal choice is key. The safety-Nazis can pay for ads encouraging seatbelts and helmets for everything (pretty soon we're just going to have to wear helmets full time the way we're going), and the insurance companies can have different rates for smokers and non-helmet people if they simply must, but don't take freedom. As for kids, like I said, some things are just ridiculous. We've got a whole generation too afraid to go outside alone or even get driver's licenses. I'm not saying my article holds the entire answer, but this culture has a huge problem. I think the pendulum has swung too far is all.

SpeakUpStandOut profile image

SpeakUpStandOut 4 years ago from Southern California

I believe that children should have a personal choice too, I believe in giving them choices starting when they are young. Example: "You can either stop screaming or go stand in the corner", this is empowering to a child; giving them opportunity to make choices and then if the child pick the wrong choice, you can use it as a learning opportunity; to teach them why they made the wrong choice and how to make the right choice next time. I do not think it is because of PSA's that children are being held back, I think, it's bad parenting, uneducated parenting and a lack of understanding of the boundaries that kids need.

Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 4 years ago from California Author

I think the problem is bigger than that. "Bad parenting" is a symptom. The do-gooders and the safety-Nazis, and the health-Nazis are telling everyone how to parent. There have always been bad parents in the world, through all of time. Before, the variations of parenting styles sort of made it all work out. And it still will. Most immigrants to America don't listen to any of the idiocy the policy people put out these days, and they knock their kids upside the head when they don't do what they are told, teach them discipline in the ways that worked for 100,000 years, and their kids go off to college and do their thing (assuming they can afford it, which is another issue entirely). Meanwhile, the obedient drones staring into the hypnotic box of lights, listening to Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz while drooling into their bags of Doritos and waiting for Honey Boo Boo to come on, raise scared little undisciplined creatures too terrified to venture outside for fear of a molester in a bush or a carcinogen in the air. Which, of course, they can prove is a relevant issue and can site the anecdote of Case X, in Such-an-Such town, USA, which, several months back (or years back) proved it does happen, putting the odds at a terrifying 1 in 900 zillion, and, of course, is "all fine and dandy to blow off" until it happens to you. So, let's just keep Junior inside. That's my point.

But I do agree that children should be taught to make choices and learn to deal with the consequences of those choices. But I think they should be allowed to not only make the choice, but choose what they want to make choices about. Obviously they don't get to run amok with shotguns and chainsaws at age 5, but there is a huge realm of reason between that and where we are now in this country.

Maria Antonia profile image

Maria Antonia 2 years ago from North Carolina

I can really hear your frustration with kids that don't drive. Personally, when my son didn't get his license until he was 17 I was okay with it. But, we didn't drive him everywhere. If the distance was reasonable we made him ride his bicycle, take the bus, or ride with a friend. The mommy and daddy taxi was a last resort. When I did drive him places I enjoyed the time talking with him. He would voluntarily talk about whatever event I was taking him to and the people that would be there. He talked about his friends, teachers and what was going on at school and other aspects in his life. Being in the car together helped to maintain our connection throughout his teen years and we didn't go through the whole teenage, "I hate the world and you too mom and dad", trials. Also, when he got his first job he bought us gifts. He's 26 now and I still wear a bracelet everyday that he bought me at age 16. Perhaps what we project to our children is what the reflect back to us. Is it possible that your kids have some other reason why they don't want to drive. BTW, my brother used to dear me to take a bite out of a mud pie and to eat dog food...he's 12 years older and I was quite gullible at the time, but I'm healthy today.

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