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Exercise, sweat and good health
What's happening to our children?
Behind our house, just on the other side of the black metal fence, down a sharp
slope, sits the tee box of the 6th hole of the golf course. A few days ago our neighbor stuck his head over the bushes separating
our back yards and said to me, “Did you hear those kids yesterday. Did you see them running all over the hill behind our houses?”
I hadn’t seen or heard the kids to which he referred, so I told my neighbor, “Nope, what happened?”
The neighbor related that around 6 p.m. the day before, 5 young boys and a young girl were running around the slopes behind our houses,
running, yelling and loudly laughing.
In the late afternoon the following
day I heard a mild ruckus coming from the area behind the house. There were the 5 young boys and the young girl running up and down
the slopes. They were indeed, yelling and laughing loudly. They were playing with water pistols and enjoying every second of their
time together. Since the day my neighbor alerted me to the games behind our houses the kids, all pre-teens, have returned twice. I
haven’t seen or heard them playing in a week. I have to presume that some of the neighbors complained about the noise the kids made,
putting an end to their innocent fun and adventures.
I wonder what
the 6 kids are doing today for fun? These are the years they should be out having fun, laughing and running around. Perhaps it’s not
as easy today for kids to have simple fun. Good, clean fun – without parents, adults, guns or drugs.
There’s a good chance that these 6 kids will wind up like millions of other children in America – overweight and devoid of any healthy
As a nation we are fatter and more out of shape than any American
generation. Processed foods and no exercise will do that to children.
Not only are our children eating unwholesome processed foods, but now there is a spreading program being adopted by our schools –
one by one schools are eliminating physical education classes and childhood games such as tag, tether ball, soccer, touch football
and dodge ball. The school principals claim that the danger of physical harm exists if the kids go out at recess and play tag or other
Elementary schools in Cheyenne, Wyoming and Spokane, Washington are the
latest to eliminate childhood games during recesses and before and after school hours. Teachers and principals are just too afraid
that harm will come to their children if they are allowed to play with each other.
And so, our nation continues on the road to insalubriousness.
ask our kids to be all-star jocks. It’s just better for them as individuals and for our nation if they were to play a little tag or
dodge ball. Let them whack a tether ball or take out some frustrations by kicking a soccer ball around the school yard. Let our kids
run around at recess. Maybe they will learn to burn off some energy with exercise rather than using it to run around with a street
gang killing people.
Parents should rise up and demand that the schools
schedule time for their kids to play games – to run around, to learn sportsmanship, to get tired. A good tired.
I can see a young boy, missing his ride home from school, forced to walk the half-mile distance to his home. His mother greets him
at the door and asks how little Johnny is doing. The 10-year old boy, flushed with his half-mile walk, reports, “Mom, what’s this
wet stuff on me? What’s happening?”
His mother, realizing what had
happened, takes a hanky, dabs the boy’s forehead and says, “Johnny, Johnny that’s called sweat.”
She remembered what sweat was from her childhood. The last generation that allowed kids to play – and sweat!
There’s a connection between the schools cutting back or eliminating games, exercise and competition. There is a linking between kids
not getting any exercise at their schools and then coming home and sitting 6 hours a day in front of their computer, another 2 hours
watching television or talking on their cell phone and the sad state of our children’s health.
If this keeps up I can only imagine what the next generation of children will look like.
Maybe I’ll find those kids in our neighborhood and tell them that it’s okay to play on the hill behind our house. Maybe I miss those
days – days of playing and laughing with good friends. Just playing and laughing.