Give the children love, more love and still more love – and the common sense will come by itself. ~Astrid Lindgren
Sometimes I wonder if the common sense is present in any kid today?
Now that the temperatures have plummeted into the negative degrees, I keep thinking of Kyle and his aversion to winter coats and long sleeves. Yes even long sleeve T-shirts! Seriously, it drives me crazy when he whines, “Why do I need a coat? I’m not cold, I’m hot.” Come on back to reality, buddy. Even when the temperatures reach the teens, we all know that statement could not possibly be true! But he’ll swear to it and put up a fight like his life depended on it.
Getting Kyle to wear a coat has been an onward struggle for years. In fact, I can’t remember the last time he wore a coat, except for hunting season. What really worries me, is Kyle’s not the only child acting like this. There are other children who argue about the same thing. So you mean to tell me, this new generation has some super human heat source radiating from the core of their bodies? They are the walking sun? Because that’s what they act like.
Kyle informed me yesterday when I talked to him that school was already canceled. First of all, I don’t completely agree with that. What do the children who experience these frigid temperatures as a norm do? They don’t stop their life. Granted, those kids are used to the cold and that’s a big difference. Regardless, when he told me about the cancellation, I was kind of upset yet glad. I instantly had a vision of Kyle, exposed, out in the cold, waiting for the bus with his hoodie on, no hat, no gloves, no scarf getting frost bite. Not a pretty picture!
Not that I want this to happen, not in the slightest, but it would be something for Kyle to experience the results of his poor choices. Now don’t get me wrong, I would do everything in my power to ensure that child is always kept physically, mentally and spiritually sound, but I sure do wish I could prove my point without it permanently damaging him.
As I discuss this phenomenon with my parents, I came to a pretty sound conclusion for this behavior. Now I’m going to sound like an old timer, so bear with me for a moment and indulge me if you will. Kids today have never really experienced winter. I mean the brutal cold, the feet of snow, the constant snow storms and ice storms, the results of being stranded and snowed in. I’m talking about true survival instincts taking over. At least not in my part of the world, these kids I’m referring to. Nope, this generation of kids arrived when winters started to become milder, and not as sever. Plus, road crews seem to be more frequent, as opposed to the days when they would just shut down roads and wait till the weather passed before attempting to clear the way. That’s one point, and another point would include coddling.
To no fault of their own, kids now-a-days are well taken care of, at least in some ways, in others there’s a big gap. I guess that’s an entirely different conversation so I’ll just stick to the cold issue. Kids don’t walk to school (I did from first grade to sixth grade, almost a mile one way), kids don’t even walk to the bus stop anymore. Nope, either the buses go out of there way to add stops or the parents drive them. Again, to catch the bus in high school, we had to walk about seven tenths of a mile, one way. (Kyle knows this route, for I have made him walk it with me to stretch our legs) Then, instead of standing and waiting for the bus, the kids sit in the warm car. This generation, generally speaking, goes from a warm house, into a heated garage, into a warmed up car with heated seats, into a heated bus and into a heated school building, to only repeat the process in reverse. No wonder they think they’re hot!
They don’t know what it’s really like to have to bundle up or freeze to death. The little bit of cold they experience is quickly removed from a contained heat wave within shelter. They don’t get that things could happen, like a freak snow storm leaving one stranded alongside a roadway, power outage, lasting for more than a few hours or any combination of these instances. Mom always did teach us to be prepared and I guess I’m trying to teach Kyle the same.
I remember when I first started driving, mom always had us pack a blanket among other provisions in the car, just in case. For the longest time, I would keep a pair of winter boots, they usually were my snowboarding boots but regardless, in the car JUST IN CASE. If I ever got stranded with Kyle now, what would I do? Granted, everyone has cell phones and there always seem to be road crews out and about, but things could happen very quickly.
How can I get this through Kyle’s head? Wear at least a winter jacket and hat! The kid continues to get ear infections, one would think it would be second nature to wear a hat. After all, we’ve engrained it in him since he was little, but I guess if it’s not reinforced by all parties, then it will not become habit. I miss the days of old when I could bundle him up as I saw fit, and he didn’t have an opinion one way or the other. I get it, kids are pretty resilient, yet they do have limitations.
Are all kids in the late and preteen age like this? Is it just Western Pennsylvania? In a way I truly hope kids are just warmer naturally, and no child is out freezing in the cold. In a way, I kind of feel ashamed for Kyle, for he has warm clothing to his disposal and he snubs his nose at it, when there are kids without that luxury. I wish he would at least appreciate what he has more and not take it for granted.