Catching Bees

She has begged me for a week.  She obsessively talks about it and won’t let it go.  At least seventy seven times a day she brings “IT” up to the point of pure craziness.   She wants a Club Penguin Membership and she can’t stop thinking about it.

It is summer and I have this child that wants to stay indoors to play computer games.  She wants to buy this membership to Club Penguin and I have repeatedly said “NO”.  After all, I want my kids to be active, and to have adventure this summer.  But I must admit, TV and computer games are tempting not only for the kids, but for me. TV and computer games keep them calm, happy, safe from physical injury and in harmony. However, these activities can literally suck away hours of a young person’s life.  They can steal away the precious time that could be spent up in a tree examining the world from a bird’s eye view, or time riding in the wind on a bicycle with cards in your tires so your bike sound like a motorcycle.

When I was a kid, my summers were spent catching bees in my bee jar.  I put holes in the top of my jar so the bees could have air. I would keep them in my jar until I felt sorry for them. Then, toward dusk, I would free the little things.  When I got bored, I would climb Mrs. Reeves cherry tree and eat cherries from above.  Then I would ride my bike to the park and play on the merry-go-round until I was sick with dizziness.  After lunch I would walk to the public pool around the corner and I would swim until the pool closed.   I never stayed inside as a kid during summer.  Even at night, I would pitch a tent and sleep outside as often as my mom would let me.

I really believe that as a parent, I have failed my kids a little bit on outdoor adventure…. and here is why.

I watched too much news and let fear affect me.  I moved into the suburbs and was afraid to let my kids explore the neighborhood, after all; some pervert might pick them up, or a car might hit them, or they may fall from a five-year-old tree and break an arm.  Heaven forbid they should wreck their bike!  Sure, the world is a different place now then when I was a kid, but just maybe I have become a little too paranoid.

The other day I watched my child maneuver her way on the rocks above a rushing river and I felt this surge of adrenaline.  I had fear she would some how trip and tumble down into the river below and be swept away forever.  It was a stupid fear.  I realized at that moment how often I protect my kids from things that are purely stories in my head, without any reason and I put a hold on their adventure.

Maybe with a bit more outdoor adventure in life, kids wouldn’t be so drawn to a fantasy world on screens.   I have been thinking about these things.

Do you let your kids have the same kind of adventures as you did when you were a kid?

4 Comments on “Catching Bees

  1. It’s interesting how we have been conditioned to fear strangers yet I just heard yesterday that over the last 30 years, crimes against children from strangers has dropped. Based on the news its hard to believe. Anyway, as Richard Louv says, we all were raised as “free range children” with lots of adventure, but our children don’t have the same opportunities as we did. Thanks everyone for commenting! I am still holding off on the Club Penguin membership, at least while its beautiful and sunny outside.

  2. The guilt is washingt over me Patricia……no….I dont. I rode my bike without a helmet, I rode in the back of the station wagon and made a fort, without a seatbelt. I roamed the neighborhood til dark.I did all the dangerous things you did….and survived.
    However….there are scary things that happen, as the news indicates that certainly give reason for our fears.
    So maybe a more frequent visit to Dan Thompsons farm to climb the trees and ride the quads where there are no bad guys is in order…..and a club penguin membership 🙂

  3. I wish my girls had the same opportunities to “explore” and be independent as I did. Little by little they are branching out more. Though our worlds are so different, and with that comes my overprotectiveness.

    My girls do have a Club Penguin account, my oldest (almost 11) loves it. BUT, 9 times out of 10 they both would prefer to go outside to play with friends. Or go and find as many creatures as they can. Club Penguin seems nice and safe, we can all sit together while they play. It’s a great quiet activity. =)

    So I think it all evens out.

  4. you and I must be around the same age, because you are describing my childhood back to me, I loved summer. But alas, your correct we worry so much more now then before. We knew which house to avoid in the neighborhood because our parents warned us, but today you don’t know your neighbors. My kids were lucky, they had a pool, kids were always at my house, on the swings, in the pool, in the sandbox. And I did let them ride bikes but only in the neighborhood. They grew up just fine and I don’t think they missed anything. It all works out. Have a great Day. Mary

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