Thursday, October 28, 2010
Silly, Spooky, Stormy, Stuff
This day, last week, was definitely the stormiest. It was the same day I had to herd the chicas out of the flooded shark cage and in to Betty's old apartment.
Gee whiz, it just never seems justifiable, me posting about "bad" weather. I know people in tornado states, or hurricane zones probably think I am a weak wienie. Oh well. I know it was ferocious.
This week we have seen blue skies and felt the warmth of the sun, which is nice, but honestly, I am looking forward to the new storm in the forecast. I can't remember the last time we had such a marvelously turbulent October. And except for the leaky roof, and the danger of drowning my chicas, I hope we enjoy this stuff all autumn and winter.
In other news...
I saw a piece this morning about an Illinois town where they have outlawed trick or treating for children over twelve years of age. Outlawed. They can be fined. And apparently this is not an uncommon ordinance. My reaction? WTH?!
I think I was twenty the last time I went out on the free candy march, dressed as Hobbes. Geoff got a crew cut and dyed his hair comic strip yellow so he could be Calvin. It was awesome.
Three years ago I took Maria, Max, Mitchell, Alex, and William around the neighborhood. Yes, they wanted free treats, but they were also really excited about sharing their costumes, and observing Maria's impressions of the whole Trick-or-Treat scene. Neighbors were amused by Max's pop-up straw bale, and with Alex's wizard dragon, and the children practiced those basic and necessary socialization skills, engaging with the people in their community, sharing a time honored tradition of silliness.
So. In the news piece, the emphasis was on the "scariness" of answering the door to a "six foot tall" kid in a mask asking for candy. I do get that. Some kids fail to play nice, dress up, or even say thank you, and maybe it can be a little uncomfortable to be greeted by a demanding teen, but whatever happened to keeping our expectations high, and our patience higher? Why can we not teach children how to be silly and appropriate? Why are we legislating every last corner of our culture and traditions, and then marginalizing teenagers from the fun and social celebrations that make childhood enjoyable?
Childhood. Shouldn't it be preserved and condoned, at least until they are told to register for a draft, pay taxes, move out? Shouldn't it be okay to be a "six foot tall" kid that wants to hang out with friends, collect candy, and be a part of the community.
Drags out soap box... Maybe it isn't the children we should legislate against, and fine. Maybe it's the parents we should ask more of. Where are the moms and dads? Why aren't they out there too, playing and engaging, and participating in the fun, so that they can be observers and role models? Instead of staying home "scared" of the very people who are the future of their society, I think they should get off their posteriors and parent. And yes, I do believe in hanging out with teenagers, not as a helicopter-parent, but as a caring, interested person, responsible for the well being of the people in my community.
In an ideal world we could send the kids out on their own, and trust that the village will share in the common purpose of looking after its young people. Life is not that idyllic any more, not around here anyway. I do not think it makes any sense to ban the "old" kids, or the "too tall" kids from community activities. It makes me sad to think that, at the ripe old age of twelve, a kid is expected to bow out of the fun, and find something else to do... and talk about scary... the unsupervised, bored, and marginalized kid will find something else to do. It makes me sad that a generation of children have heard their community say, "You are twelve, and scary, and we are banning you from participating in your community's celebration of Halloween."
Golly. I am all riled up. I wish I could throw some flour at something, and send the banshees away forever!
"Tootie, if you don't hit Mr. Braukoff in the face with flour and say "I hate you", the Banshee will haunt you forever!"