Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Child Neglect

We were so neglected, my brother and I, when we were young. We did not have video games, cell phones for "texting" everyone, quads, MP3 players, computers, etc. Until I was in elementary school, we did not even have a TV. Someone needs to be arrested for not meeting all of our "needs"! We did not have a phone in our bedroom, in fact the only phone (when I was little) was a wall-mounted model with a crank handle. Yes, just like you have seen on old TV programs. Our phone number was something like - 49R4. We were on a "party line". If you do not know what that is, ask someone older than you are. When we did get a TV, it had one channel - KGUN, Channel 9, from Tucson. It was a fuzzy picture, but it was pretty amazing. I did not play a video game until I had kids of my own and the first game was "Pong". WOW!

So, since we were so mistreated and denied of the better things, what did we have?

We only had the meadows and forests surrounding our small neighborhood. We had our friends who lived within one block of our house. We had the rope swing in a tall pine tree that our Dad made. We had the ball park nearby. There was the old dump with rusty, old cars from the 1930's and 1940's. We had the wood shed in the back yard where our dog had puppies. We had our 1-speed bikes to ride on the unpaved streets. We had BB guns, bows and arrows (they cost $ .25 each, which we had to earn in order to buy more arrows). There was the old log cabin in a meadow to the west and the area in the forest where we could find pottery. Near the log cabin was a rodeo grounds where a friend and I tried to put out a small forest fire when we were nine. We thought that an army shovel and a canteen with water would make headway in a small brush fire. With those same army shovels, we dug fox holes and tunnels in the meadow behind our home. There was the cattle pond where we hunted the "two-eyed monsters". There was the forest where we made lean-to's out of small trees we chopped down and where we camped out. Our Cub Scout troop met in our neighborhood.

We were terribly neglected. We lived in a small town where most everyone knew most everyone else. Where, even as small boys, we could walk along the highway without any concerns about who might drive by and see us. We had the great outdoors at our front door and we enjoyed it to the fullest extent.


  1. OK, so HOW old are you again? Geez! Actually, I feel like I had it pretty good, too, without a lot of the technological "luxuries" kids have now. I never used a computer growing up, played a little SuperMario Bros., but that's about it for video games, and got spanked for watching Cheers or Scooby Doo. But, I was fine. I loved that I lived in a time where even a kid in Phoenix could be outside and down the street without supervision and nobody needed to worry. I wonder what kind of a childhood little Ben will have. Will I have to have my eyes on him ALL the time? What kind of a childhood is that?

  2. Another time and another place. It is not just that I grew up decades ago, but I also grew up in a different place. Different than many places are now, but typical of places back then. Things were different, and in my opinion, better than they are here and now. I am talking about a town where rarely were your house doors locked, parents did not need to worry about someone doing something harmful to their kids, other than the occasional bully. I cannot point out one or two things that make it different, so that those could be changed and we would be back to that open and innocent lifestyle. Society, in general, has changed. Values are different with many people. This is true, even in many small towns now.

    What I valued from being from a small town and what I feel like were advantages from that, motivated my decision to move my family out of Phoenix, after being there six years. I did not want my kids to finish growing up in a city. The four of you did not change into the same kids that I was growing up, but you each did make some changes directly as a result of living in a somewhat rural community.

    We are influenced by surroundings, whether location and/or people. We change when exposed to different environments and personalities. This is especially true for young, open minds. That is why it is important for parents to choose the best environment (place and people) for our kids to grow up. The decision made and acted upon will cause changes in the lives of our children, and we pray they are for the good.