Are We Running Out Of Cottonwool For Our Kids?

A nice soft cushiony blanket. Cottonwool. Yes cottonwool will make it even softer. Kids these days, well what can I say.

Don’t cross the road. Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t pick up a knife. Don’t climb that tree. Don’t do this, don’t do that.

And we wonder why kids are so dependant on parents? And never really become totally independent while parents are alive or past their use by date? [1]

They stay home for as long as they can. They use Mum and Dad as a bank well into their adult life. Why? Are we ourselves creating this problem?

Has the world really become such a dangerous place?

Is it any more dangerous now, then when I was growing up in the eighties? Let me see, we had no seatbelts, no airbags, no helmets, no round the clock supervision. But hard work, chores, part-time jobs, physical labour.

Faced with difficult situations every day. Even before I could spell them, I learnt to assess and analyse situations. At 9 years old, two cushions on the seat of the Datsun 1600 and I started to drive.

No road code. No defensive driving. Heck, no driving instructor.

My Dad was tough, as tough as they come

A school teacher. But tough. At 8 years old, I could mix gravel[2] and cement in a wheelbarrow.

At 11 years old, I could mix it by the trailer load. And this is how we built a concrete floor for our house.

Hard work. Blisters. And aching backs.

As we sat down for a rest at the end of the day, the satisfaction of seeing the product of hard work was slowly creeping into me. Can someone please send a concrete truck this way?

‘I’m bored’

Now a parent myself, this is a classic phrase I used to hear from kids, mine and others. What is boredom? Boredom is created because kids expect to be constantly entertained. I don’t hear this phrase at my home any more.

The last time I heard this, I promptly got a spade from the tool shed. ‘Here you go son, please dig a hole in the garden’ How deep, Dad? Just keep going till I say stop. After an hour of digging, I made him fill the hole back up again.

I long to hear the phrase these days.

Life is difficult

We all know that. Kids are smarter. More manipulative. We usually give in to their demands to keep the peace. A firm upbringing. I’m an advocate for that. Loving but firm. Life isn’t all rosy.

Grateful to my father. He was tough. He only had one leg but he could climb up to the roof on a step ladder. He is no more, but he is the role model that is helping me fight my own obstacles in life.


[1] Ok, I’m generalising a bit. If your kids are model citizens please don’t take offence.

[2] Now called basecourse. Cement pre-mixed version is called builders mix. We used to mix gravel and cement and make our own concrete. Now, almost an extinct art.



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