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An Outside Job

Monday, April 14, 2014 8:25am
Despite the glitch in the weather over the weekend
 
Spring is in the air, temperatures are rising, it's a great time to go out and play.  I don't care if you're a kid or an adult---go out and play.  But I've noticed something around my neighborhood.  The baseball diamonds, the basketball courts, the playgrounds---most of 'em are empty.  Where are all the kids?  I know we're still procreating---so where in the world are all the kids?  
 
Unfortunately, I know where they are.  They're inside.  They're playing video games and watching movies and lying on their beds listening to their IPods and sitting on the couch texting friends.  
 
When I was a kid, my parents had to yell my name 10 times to come inside.  It was late, the street lights were coming on, dinner was getting cold, it was time to put away the bat and ball.  Nowadays, parents have to yell at their kids 10 times to get out of the house!  Put down that phone or that tablet.  Go outside!  Get some exercise!  
 
Seems the only time kids are playing ball now is when the parents have signed them up for organized leagues.  The kids don't initiate these games themselves.  They don't knock on the next door neighbor's door and say, "can Johnny come out and play?"  Now, I understand some of this is a safety issue.  Parents are paranoid about their kids wandering about the neighborhood unsupervised.  But a lot of it IS technology.  It's the kids' infatuation with everything technological AND parents using all these devices as babysitters.  After all, if Johnny or Joanna are sitting on the couch, quietly watching or texting or listening to their tech thingie, heck, mom and dad don't have to do any parenting work.  Nothin' to worry about here! 
   
No, nothing to worry about except your kid's obesity or undeveloped social skills.  
 
So, if you're a kid OR a parent watching this, stop!   Step away from the computer.  Go outside.  Go do something.  Anything!  Shoot some baskets,  hit a tennis ball against the wall, throw yourself some popups, run through the sprinkler.  You and the kids might be reminded, "hey, this is a whole lot more fun than staring at a screen."  You'll thank me later.  And so will your family physician.  

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