So we went on vacation with our kidlets. It was a short one - we left on Sunday and came back on Wednesday. SubHub wanted to go some place with lakes and trees and away from the city. So we went to Lake George. Overall we had a very nice time, but one theme kept on popping up that spoiled it a bit: how to entertain the kids. If we went alone, this vacation would've been just perfect. However, there wasn't much we could do with a three and a two year old. Some activities were too mature for them, some too long, some were just too expensive to justify the cost, and overall there weren't that many activities to begin with.
All of this reminded me the times when my parents, my brother and I used to go on vacation. Those weren't just three day getaways; ours were for 15 days (those damned Communists and their long vacations!). And I don't remember our parent wrecking their brains about what to do with us. Granted at that point we were older, and I, being three and half years older than my brother, could keep an eye on him, but still. This seems to be a common theme among many parents: how to entertain kids on vacation.
So what did we do during our two weeks vacations? We went to the beach with our parents. We also played cards and chess with them, read, and did some basic chores. At all other times, along with other kids, we were roaming the grounds of our so-called resort. And it didn't occur to anyone to keep a close eye on us. As long as we were back in time for dinner and not too dirty, all was fine. We had relative freedom, which was enjoyed by parents and children alike. Our freedom gave them freedom from worrying about how to occupy us during beach-free hours. Yes, we participated in mischief, scraped knees and got into fist fights, but no one seemed scarred for life. It was part of growing up.
Were our parents reckless? Did they not know about child molesters? I don't have answers to this. All my parents say now is: it's was a different time and a different country. So did people change? Or is it that the media brings so much spotlight on the horror stories that parents are simply afraid to leave kids unattended in their own backyards, let alone community playgrounds? Is it good for kids to have this much supervision and pretty much no freedom from parents' watchful eye? I think it's terrible.
But don't look for me to start the movement for bringing freedom for children. Because I'll be watching mine as a hawk, or least try my best. Still I crave those innocent times and feel sad that my kids won't experience them.