Better writers than me have discussed at length the vast differences in the current “childhood experience” and that of generations past but in many ways not much has changed. I wasn’t a helicopter parent per se but I was involved and always had a pretty good idea where my kids were and what they were doing. Kids in times past did get outside a little more often but my grandson Jayden spends as much time as possible “ow-side”. The biggest difference is that when he goes outdoors he has a nifty little two-way radio clipped to his belt.
Communication with the radio between Jayden and his folks is pretty casual but as the eternal platoon leader I sat down and gave him a short block of instruction on RTO (radio-telephone) procedues to include the proper use of the words “over” and “out” and the fact that you read books, not radio transmissions.
…and it’s amazing the difference that instruction made.
When his mom or dad calls Jayden is your typical fourth graders sounding like a member of the Vienna Boys Choir, but when Papa calls his voice changes. I can hear in his words that:
- His voice deepens
- His chest expands
- Belts of machine gun ammo magically appear draped around his chest
The only thing that keeps him from the full SGT Rock transformation is the fact that he has yet to hit puberty and can’t raise any stubble on his chin.