The other day I went to Best Buy to purchase updated virus protection and anti-spyware for my computers. As I was walking through the store I overheard the sounds of children giggling and laughing. When I turned the aisle, there were three young boys running in place just as hard as they could. They each held a wand in their hand. On the huge TV monitors located in front of them, there were scenes of the outdoors; as if one was running through the woods on a trail. The “scenes of summer” appeared somewhat real with fake straw, fake bushes, fake wild flowers along the trail, fake trees, and a few fake people running the path as well. As I watched these same little boys running and laughing, playing as if they were having so much fun, I thought to myself, “Poor little guys. They don’t know what it’s like to run and play in the real outside world!” Ask yourself, “What has happened?” Today, children would rather stand in front of a TV monitor with a wand in their hands to run, jump, skip, play ball, play golf, ride bicycles, play soccer, or play football than being outside. It doesn’t matter what activity or sport, they can all be played on the inside standing in front of a TV monitor. When you think about it; how sad. Now, you take the way things were back in my days; in the sixties. Now, let’s face it, we knew how to have real fun running through real woods getting our arms and legs all cut up on real wild blackberry vines. We also knew how to build real huts out of real pine straw and come home itching all over from real chiggers. We also knew how to play real ball; whether it was baseball, softball, basketball, or football (people in the South didn’t play soccer back in my days!) and come home with real black-eyes, broken wrists, or sprang ankles…I mean we knew how to play…for real! We also knew how to ride a real bike and make real flaps out of pieces of cardboard and attach them to the spokes of the wheels with clothes pens to make our bikes sound like real motorcycles. We also knew how to come home crying when we wrecked our bikes tearing up our elbows, knees, chins and shins. We also knew how to swim in real water, whether it was swimming pool water (knee-deep in the back yard) or muddy lake water; it didn’t matter to us just as long as it was cold, refreshing real water. And, when we got thirsty, our mothers just told us to drink real water from the real hose! We also knew how to run under sprinklers and slide down on wet grass and mud. Fun, fun, fun. People my age tend to have real scars all over our bodies as gentle reminders of those real, outside days of fun. Back then you could hear children playing outside from sun up to sun down. I can recall a few friends and me riding our bicycles for hours on end without our parents ever knowing where we were. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized how actually far we rode our bikes; miles and miles away from home not thinking anything about it or having cell phones to keep in touch. But, wait, I know what you are thinking… “Things weren’t as bad back in those days as they are today.” I totally agree. Children could do all of those things back in the sixties without the fear of being abducted by some pervert. So, I guess video fake woods are better than children being taken against their will….which is extremly sad. So, the sounds of summer have definitely changed over the years from outside fun to inside fun….outside running to inside running in place. At least, those little boys won’t be needing hot, burning iodine on their knees from scrapes of falling down on real cement and real rocks; possibly just a little ointment from carpet burn should they fall down! Actually, in all honesty, having fun today is more organized and planned out. For example, my son-in-law donates pretty much all of his at-home time to the recreational park where my four grandsons play ball. None of this amateur backyard stuff I enjoyed in the sixties. No way; today, its real teams with real uniforms, real equipment, playing on real fields with real night lights, and real bases; none of this using rocks, bricks, or pieces of paper to mark bases! But, where it didn’t cost our parents very much for us to play backyard ball…it costs these parents a small fortune each year! So, everywhere you look fun has changed in one form or fashion. But, as long as we can hear laughter coming from a child; I guess it doesn’t matter if it’s fake woods or real woods. Simply stated; the joyful sounds of summer! I am reminded that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, also loves little children. It is written in the Book of Matthew, 19:14, “Suffer (to allow) little children, and forbid them not (do not stand in their way) to COME UNTO ME; for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” Decades of time might bring forth, “changing sounds of summer,” but thanks be unto Jesus, it won’t ever change the heart of God towards children. Children everywhere are still loved by Jesus; no matter if they play in the real outside world or standing in front of a TV monitor; his love never fades or grows dim with time; Jesus Loves the Little Children. Sing along with me, “Jesus loves the little children; all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
I hope you are enjoying the sounds of summer and remember, God Loves You!
Lin T. Rollins, Author