The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Why Kids Don't Shovel Walks: A Modest Proposal

After the big storm last Saturday, friends on Facebook were complaining that kids didn't come to their door seeking to shovel the walk and drive for cash. The conclusion was kids these days sure are lazy.

Well, I had to think about that. I don't believe that's true, surely not in most cases. I would say, kids these days are fearful, and they learned that from their families and society. From their youngest days, kids are taught not to speak with strangers. We adults are so busy these days, we don't know most of our neighbors. Even the people down the street are potentially scary strangers.

We don't want children playing together in the street, in the vacant lot, on the playground, in the woods, by the stream, all by themselves. We prefer they stay in organized sports or at home with the Xbox or Playstation or Wii, where they can be overseen by anxious adults. They have learned fear from us, and learned it well.

So, no, they won't go out looking for jobs in the neighborhood, among the strangers, away from home unsupervised. We've spent the rest of the year teaching them that's wrong. We are to blame.

In some cases, in some neighborhoods, such fear is warranted. That's the sad truth of the matter. The sadder truth is that in most cases, it is not. But we haven't taught them that. Our kids don't see the world that way.

Besides, whenever somebody remembers doing the shoveling when they were kids (back in the last millennium) they talk about earning $5 to $10 a job. That's not nearly enough to clear 2 feet of snow from a drive and a walk in the twenty-first century. Our kids are too SMART for that! 

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