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self reference of the week

I have a new post over at Raising Hell that I'd like you to read.

Two weeks ago, the playground burned down. What was once a brightly colored source of joy to little kids is now a pile of melted plastic, charred ground and blackened poles.

There Used to be a Playground Here.




The thing about kids that age is, they don't think about the consequences of their actions, and when they do, they usually don't have enough experience, enough information about the world works, to come to accurate conclusions. I remember one summer, my family was at a little lakeside resort in northern Minnesota and one day, when I was being bored by myself, I kicked the shit out of a screen door on one of the resort buildings. It was just an impulse, an impulse I didn't yet recognize as something I needed not to act on. I almost guarantee you that these kids meant no malice to the younger children, and if they did, they thought the injury inflicted would be minor and transitory.
The solution? Closer involvement in kids' lives, of course. But adults today as so busy and scared and wrapped up in feuds with each other that it's harder and harder for people to be a good influence on kids, to understand their perspective and what they need. It all comes back around to short-term thinking - people have to be willing to give up a bit of material success and a few chances to stick it to the other guy to give their children the attention they need. At least that's what I, a know-nothing non-parent, think. _