Where Are The Children?

I already miss those sweet sounds of summer. . . not summer of 2008, but the summers of many years ago. What is different? The sound of children playing outside.

Christmas morning of 2005, my husband and I, long time residents and parents of Menifee, decided to go for a walk at 10:00 am on Christmas morning to see all of the children out with their new toys. We expected to see kids on bikes, scooters, skateboards, etc., but after walking nearly an 1 1/2 hours, we didn't see one child. We figured out that the children were all inside, playing with their new video games, computers, texting on their new phones, watching their new DVDs, etc. Saddened, we returned to our home to find our older teens doing just that.

Now our kids are on their own, and we miss the sounds of children riding bikes, playing kickball in the street and doing tricks on their skateboards. Not just our kids, but the neighborhood kids. We live in a community in Menifee that has many young children, but we rarely see them outside. We see them going to and from school, dragging those huge backpacks that seem larger than they, up to the bus stop. Sometimes I stop at the corner in amazement, shocked to see just how many kids live around us! Shocked because our neighborhood is as quiet as a Senior Community. Not that quiet is a bad thing, but as a parent, we miss the sounds of happy children.

I see the kids at the park, playing organized sports, or attending festivals, but rarely do I just see kids play. Before their whole childhood is gone, on a Saturday morning, kick those kids out, show them where the hose is from which to drink, and tell them not to come home until lunchtime! They may sit in your front yard, puzzled, texting their friends, thinking, "Mom has gone crazy. . ." but hey, a little sunshine couldn't hurt, could it?




27 Comments:

  1. I read your comment and it does sadden me. But in today's times you just can't let your kids out to play without watching them. With all the weirdos you just don't know anymore. I have three children and do try to get outside with them. But after homework and reading then I have to start dinner. It is hard and I do wish it was like it used to be. I remember as a kid climbing trees and riding our bikes all over the place without a care in the world. But sadly enough that luxury is gone. I wish my kids could enjoy their childhood like I enjoyed mine. And good for you wanting the noise of children in your neighborhood. Most empty nesters wouldn't want to be bothered with the noise. So let me know where you live and I will bring my kids there because they make noise! LOL

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  2. I also have three kids and I kick there buts outside. They will look at me like what am I to do? But they get over it. And as for the the nabiorhood its nomore safer then it was once a pone a time we just dint talk openly about the feer. If your at home and thers a problem your kids will come home and tell you belive me i here all the gossipe for my 9year old wether i wont it or not.

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  3. Tomorrow I turn 45 and I look back on my childhood compared to my children and it completely different. Here it come the way back stuff! When I was a kid we built forts and tree forts. We played pickup games of baseball and football in the park. We would walk 5 miles to Thrifty and look for bottles to turn in for money to get 5 cent scoops of ice cream. We would be all over the place and this was at Rowland Heights. We
    didn't really have to look out for perverts and hoodlums. The only people shooting each other was the police and the SLA. It was a real different time. When my family moved to San Diego in the 70's my friends and I would get a school bus pass and take the bus all over the county. Nobody bothered us or rousted us for money. When I was in high school I used to take a .22 pistol and .303 rifle in the back of my truck on Fridays so we could go to the desert to camp out and shoot. It's a felony today. Times have changed, my kids can't make a finger gun without being hauled into the principles office. I would have never thought once about swearing or disrespecting an adult under the fear that my Father would beat the tar out of me then hand down my punishment. I wasn't perfect and got into my share of trouble. Times have changed and it seems to me that most children can't be as adventurous as I was without some rule of law or HOA putting an end too it. My neighbors daughter had her friends bring over their electric guitars and drums to play. One neighbor complained to the sheriff, I told the neighbor to chill out, at least they're not tagging something and they can play! Like I said kids can't be adventurous anymore.

    Steve Iwig
    Den Leader
    Cub Scout Pack 444
    sciwig@verizon.net

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  4. You kick them out and they go to the Albertsons shopping center to bother everyone there.

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  5. Remember a number of years ago when Samantha Runion was murdered by that Davila (sp?) guy? The day they arrested him in Lake Elsinore was the day that all the kids on our street (Lazy Creek) disappeared. I was just noting a few weeks ago that the amount of people playing outside has never recovered from the shock that such a terrible person could live so relatively close. It's a terrible sign of our times.

    ~Robert

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  6. Maybe I just refuse to give in to the times. My children have an emergency cell phone to use when they walk to Target or the park. They are not allowed to text, as I feel this is the rudest thing ever invented. They are only allowed to play on the computer for short periods of time. They choose to play their video games only occasionally. They choose to play school or go outside and play with the neighbors children. We have motorcycles and sports to keep them entertained. I think it is sad that parents buy all these electronic babysitters and let the children have unlimited access to them. There should be a time limit and mandatory "imagination time", everyday. I just read an article in the Readers Digest about a woman who let her son find his way home from the Manhattan Bloomingdales on the subway. He is 9 years old. She gave him map, $20.00, and a few coins for a phone call (if necessary). He had been begging her for the chance to do this and he did find his way home in 45 minutes. This is a preparation exercise. She had her fear but she also knew that most crimes that involve children are by someone they TRUST, not a stranger. You can't keep your children from experiencing life because something "might" happen. Is it any wonder that when kids do go out in the world as young adults they don't know how to survive? I've noticed that children today do not even know how to express themselves around adults. They've been told to never speak to strangers so long, that they don't speak to anyone outside of their safe little circle. So, neighborhoods are quiet, communities are disconnected, and we are raising an increasingly shut in generation. You know, we as parents should set an example and go out and talk to the neighbors ourselves. How can you tell your children to go outside and get to know people if you don't do it first? You might even figure out who some of the "weirdos" are and tell your kids to stay away from them.

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  7. Geez, I can't even relate to the original poster. My family moved to Menifee not very long ago, 2001. We moved into a new community with children everywhere. We have had the enjoyment of watching the kids grow; some of them are in college now, some in high school, some in middle school, some in elementary school, and some weren't even a twinkle in their daddy's eye. Unfortunately we have also experienced death of neighbors. Some neighbors have coached my kids in their sports, some neighbors help out with carpools, some neighbors pull in our trash cans when we haven't had a chance too, and some neighbors have taught my kids at our neighborhood school.

    I am very proud of my neighborhood & my neighbors. We all feel comfortable enough to leave for our summer vacations knowing someone will be home to notify us if there is a problem. Heck, some of the neighbors take vacations together.

    In all honesty, I could go on & on about how great my neighborhood is. If any of my neighbors are reading this... I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for helping my husband & I raise our children in such a fantastic neighborhood. I'm a firm believer in "It takes a community to raise a child."

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  8. You obviously haven't seen the pack of youngsters that jump off the bridge on most evenings into one of our lakes here at Centex Lakes. I wish they were doing their homework ( I don't think I'm the only one) or watching a DVD instead.

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  9. As a school principal, I really appreciate you and your husband's enthusiasm for children and child play of a time that seems long forgotten! Just to reassure you that children still do these activities, the street I live on has 43 children! Skateboards, playing ball, tag, etc.. are still alive. Sometimes so much it scares me when I see people driving recklessly. So if you and your husband would like to see many children enjoying childlike things with parent supervision, take a drive through Newport Hills II. It's a great neighborhood. Once the trees begin to grow it will be even better!

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  10. I also live in Newport Hills and while it makes me cringe when a whole group start at the top of the hill and then ride down on bikes, scooters and skateboards, I know how fun that is and wouldn't think to stop them. They know the danger of it. We also have the open hills around, and my boys go up and play soldier, hunter and soldiers all the time. I can tell because they bring different gear with them.
    I'm hoping that without year round school, we'll start hearing them walk to and from school too. My kids do, but the school tracks mean some group is always out of the loop.
    I love how the kids are able to play around here.

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  11. Our neighborhood has lots of kids too and most play outside, its great to see and I wouldn't want to be in a neighborhood without children outside no matter how old I get. I was going to mention about the Readers Digest article too but someone beat me to it...
    we were at the Albertsons last night and there were a few boys on bikes but no one was being bothered.

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  12. This is both a good scenario and a bad one. We I was a kid (30+ years ago), we would all ride around on our bikes or walk to where we needed to go. We were always outside playing. The big difference back then versus today is that we respected people and property. Unfortunately, the youth of today do not respect people or property. So in one respect, the fact that you don't have kids in your neighborhood might be a good thing. That is, unless they have the morales of yesteryear.

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  13. I MOVED INTO THE CENTEX LAKES 1 YEAR AGO WITH MY HUSBAND AND JR.HIGH AGED DAUGHTER. I ALSO HAD HOPES OF SEEING MORE KIDS OUT AND ABOUT IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD. WE MOVED HERE TO GIVE MY DAUGHTER A WONDERFUL PLACE TO GROW UP,AND IT SADDENS ME THAT NO KIDS ARE PLAYING OUTSIDE. WE LEFT OUR OLD LOCATION THAT WAS FILLED WITH CHILDREN,AND NOW I REGRET IT MOST DAYS. SHE HAS NOTHING TO DO HERE IN MENIFEE. WE NEED TO COME TOGETHER AS PARENTS AND GET THESE KIDS OUTSIDE PLAYING

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  14. My neighborhood is full of kids that play in the cul-de-sac and I am so grateful for my neighborhood and neighbors, I feel safe to let my boys 6 & 11 play outside with the other 20-25 kids playing outside. We all look out for each others kids and my kids are limited to video playing time, which they rarely ever get because they are involved sports as well. One of the reasons we moved to this neighborhood is because our kids would have lots of other kids to play with and they do!!! So come over to our neighborhood on xmas morning because you will see lots of kids outside with their xmas goodies......Near CWM Elementary.

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  15. We just moved from a Menifee Lakes community where my child didn't play outside because all the kids on our street were grown and gone. We know live in Heritage Lake on a street that has over 15 kids in 6 houses. We love it our daughter who is 6 is always outside playing, riding her bike or scooter with the other 14 kids. The only problem we have here is some neighbors without children who don't want to slow down when children are playing. We have put up signs, cones and she just runs them over. Thank god it wasn't a child she ran over. I too love to hear children outside playing there giggles and laughs are such a joy.

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  16. Well I try to let them out but there are rude drivers that don't obey the speed limit and speed like if they are on a race track. Last thing I need is for my kids to get run over.

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  17. To the poster who had the driver who ran over the signs asking them to slow down for children ~ try using a railroad tie to "hold down" your sign (on the back side so the driver doesn't see it)!! Then sit back and enjoy the result! It works!!

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  18. IF THERE ARE PARENTS OUT THERE WHO LIVE IN CENTEX lAKES WITH JR.HIGH AGED CHILDREN MAYBE WE COULD ORGANIZE ACTIVITIES FOR THEM SO THEY COULD MEET. NOTHING BIG OR TO 'LAME' AS MY DAUGHTER WOULD SAY. I WISH OUR POOLS WERE OPEN, THAT WOULD HELP.

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  19. IT IS SAD THAT YOU CAN NOT JUST KICK YOUR KIDS OUT ANYMORE TO PLAY. YOU HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT PEOPLE SPEEDING DOWN YOUR STREET AND NOT SLOWING DOWN WHEN THEY SEE KIDS PLAYING OUTSIDE. THEN THE WORRY OF SOMEONE SNAPPING YOUR CHILD UP. IT IS SAD THAT JUST LESS THAN 20 YEARS AGO YOU COULD PLAY OUTSIDE WITH NO WORRIES IN THE WORLD AND NOW YOU HAVE TO WORRY ALL THE TIME. MY KIDS I LIMIT TO THEIR EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES AND PLAYING IN THE BACKYARD. I REALLY WISH I COULD LET THEM JUST PLAY OUTSIDE AND NOT HAVE TO WORRY.

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  20. Some of these comments remind me of a phrase my father was fond of saying:

    "Things aren't like they used to be, and they probably never were."

    If you look at the numbers, our kids are much safer than we ever were. So hiding them in the house out of fears is unfounded paranoia heightened by almost instant media capabilities.

    I find the easiest way to get my kids outside is to go out there with them. My wife and I will go out and interact with them, or sit and chat while they play. The kids think they would rather be on the computers; but once they are out and on their bikes, or playing ball... they enjoy it as much as we ever did.

    Menifee is a great town for families if you ask me. My family moved here from Escondido this summer and we couldn't imagine being happier. Want to see more activity in your neighborhoods? Create it. Be outside yourself, and be friendly to the folks you meet.

    It really is that easy.

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  21. Getting ready to leave for work and noticed this thread. I don't know where these people live that don't have kids around. Our neighborhood (Hidden Meadows) has kids everywhere in the early evenings. It's too hot during the day for even the adults. Once the temp starts to drop around 6:30pm we have kids everywhere outside playing. That is, under the age of teenager. Teenagers these days do not go outside to play. They have either too much homework, jobs, or are either on the computer or playing video games.

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  22. Funny! I live in Hidden Meadows and out of the four families on my street with children, I rarely see them outside at any time. The original blog states nothing about teenagers. I think it's a given that they do not go outside to play. I do see a teenager or two mowing lawns occasionally though. I wonder if that counts.

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  23. I live in Hidden Meadows also and the kids are always outside playing later in the day. Maybe to the person who has four houses with children near them without the kids playing outside should try and socialize a little more.

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  24. I am 17 years of age, and I ride a bike...
    Every time I go out I get yelled at so how do you expect to see kids riding bikes when you yell at them?

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  25. Nicolas, I see no reason why anyone would yell at you for riding your bike. However, if you are jumping curbs in front of peoples houses or riding on their lawns then yes you might be yelled at. If you are riding your bike in mall parking lots or on sidewalks, then yes you might be yelled at.
    Remember, when riding a bicycle you must follow the same rules as a car.

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  26. It is sad. When I was little we were outside every day, all day long.

    Now however, my kids don't go out front with out me. For many reason, we live on a busy street where people drive up the street at 40+ miles per hour, it's too hot most of the time (they have asthma), and unfortunately child molesters are much more brazen than they were years ago. I don't care if the percentages aren't that much higher than years ago, I don't want my child being one of that small percentage.

    But this doesn't mean they aren't outside. Just because you don't see them doesn't mean they aren't outside. My kids are in the backyard playing...safely.

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  27. Yes, I agree. Kids do need more sun and fresh air. My kids (4) play outside daily and I take time away from cleaning or something that can get done later to watch them. Here in our neighborhood all the mothers take turns watching the kids so that we do have piece of mind that our kids are safe.

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