Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Times have changed... or have they?

It's funny isn't it? So very often I hear of people saying about how when they were young things were different.

 I see memes flying around the internet, you know the sort, ''we went out till the street lights came on, drank out of sprinklers, climbed trees and lived to tell the tale...''

I have always wondered why people think things are so very different now, in fact I have blogged about it in the past (you can read that post here)

Playing outside climbing trees, having simple childhood fun is still very much present in the children of today.

There is however,  no denying that there has been changes to society, but is it our perception that has made these changes come about, or is the world really a different more scary place for children to grow up?

My eldest is now 13, a fully fledged teenager. I want him to grow up experiencing the things I did, and experiences all the things I didn't.

I want him to learn through his own mistakes, and also see the world and make his own impressions on it.

I don't want to be the helicopter parent buzzing around him making it almost impossible for him to grow and develop and spread his own wings.

I hope he will look back on his childhood years with memories of the fun times spent doing things very much like I myself did, outdoors playing vividly imaginative games.

This wish for him, and all my children, to have independence, responsibility and opportunities to learn, grow and develop is why when I saw a sign in our local newsagents reading 'paperboy/ girl wanted' I thought of Jake.

A paper round.

An age old tradition is it not?

A sure fire right of passage, that step up of the ladder of maturity.

A huge privilege, something to be proud of and impress your mates with when you bring home that first wage packet and you can buy the snacks with money you have earnt.

Not to mention the benefits of the regular exercise.

So why then are our paper boys in decline? Why did that notice stay hung on that door for nearly a week without a que of boys and girls eager to prove their maturity and get their hands on the pay?

Are our streets really that much more hazardous now than 30 years ago? Or is it more due to the youth of today? Do they simply  not want the responsibility of a paper round, is the promise of pay no longer a source of  encouragement with so much available from the bank of mum and dad? After all a paper round is not the best paid job in the world is it?

Is the thought of early starts in cold days just not seen as such an exciting opportunity when the heated homes and internet beckons at every spare second?

Perhaps its not at all about our fears as parents, but more our childrens perceptions that are changing and I'm not quite sure that's for the better.

After a few days of seeing the ad staring out of the shop window I decided I'd mention it to Jake, not knowing what rules were in place about age restrictions or such like, I just wanted to gage his reaction.

He eagerly jumped up and said he would happy do the paper round, so off we went to enquire. The rules being you have to be 13, responsible, reliable,  punctual and polite.

He got given the job, and the pride in his face as he ran back home to tell his dad and his friends made me once again wonder why others had not also jumped at this chance.

I feel a huge sense of pride in him, the way he took up the chance, spoke politely and confidently as he inquired, the way he has taken on the role ensuring he is steadfast with this new responsibility he now has.

The reality of the work involved has now sunk in, it isn't easy work the papers are heavy and the morning weather is chilly, but the first pay packet seemed to make it all worth while so all is good and I will do everything I can to encourage him to continue this round for as long as possible. (even if for the past week it has meant that I have also had to shuffle my already manic morning routine so that I can accompany him to master his round)

I hope that he continues to relish the responsibility and independence he has and that it in some way helps him form values which will  help him through the next stages of his life.


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