If you're a person who was a child in the 80's or 90's then you may understand when I say - we did some stupid shtuff. Stuff. I meant to say stuff.
You may, like me, also be a little bit aware of why so many parents today use what I call "digital babysitters."
Here, (handing them their phone) play a game on my phone.
Here, (handing them an iPad) watch a show on Netflix.
Here, (handing them a child-friendly device) find that group you like so much on YouTube and see if they have a new video uploaded to watch.
I'm sure you've either seen these scenarios, similar scenarios or even - done one of these scenarios yourself.
And part of that may be because you, as a parent, are afraid of the stupid shtuff. (Stuff. I meant stuff!)
"Go play," our parents would say.
"And do what? What are we supposed to do?" we may have replied.
"I don't know, go find something," they would answer.
And so we did, but I can't say it was usually that intelligent.
When we were little, my sisters and I thought we were doctors. Of trees.
Yes, tree doctors. Saving one dying Maple at a time.
What morons we were. There are no tree doctors. This wasn't even training us for future occupational options. I'm surprised my parents didn't have us all tested for a chemical imbalance or the use of chemical substances or something watching us act out entire ER show type scenarios because we'd found a patch of moss on the Oak tree.
We also, at one time, thought we could bring a baby pig back to life.
We found a litter runt that didn't make it. We didn't leave it for our dad to take care of, we took the little thing and hid it. In our kitchen set refrigerator.
Friggin pig morgue, that's what we had.
And every day we opened the fridge and checked on that thing like maybe one day we were going to open the door and it would be standing up looking at us or something. I'm not sure what kind of magical powers we thought that fridge had. It certainly didn't make our mud pies taste like actual pie - why the hell did we think it could resurrect a dead pig?
As a parent I cannot fathom my kids keeping a dead animal tucked away. Can a person not contract diseases from this?? The sanitary issues! The smell!! Omg, how did we tolerate the smell?!?
I have friends who've told similar stupid-bordering-on-horrible stories from their childhoods. Pranks, running away attempts, actual damage done to vehicles, playing doctor on other humans and other things that could cause young children to be tried as adults in today's world.
So is it a wonder we are sometimes prone to "here, take my phone and..."
Is it a wonder out of our generation has come the "helicopter parents?"
Not really. Because somewhere down inside of these parents that hover and want their kids to be within eyesight and earshot are people who grew up in the age of severe childhood stupidity.
Somewhere buried inside those of us who were left to "go find something to do," is a stupidity gene that we can only hope was recessive and won't rear it's head in our offspring but just in case it may, we have a deep-seeded fear that they may figure out which swing sets aren't cemented in properly and if they swing high enough you get a rush from feeling the back legs of THE ENTIRE SWING SET lifting off the ground.
I don't want to seem like I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth here. I think screens and screen time can be (and is, in many cases) used waaaaaaaay too much.
And I have been known to say to my turd-headed children, "That's it, I'm sick of hearing that stupid game and your shouting at that stupid game! Turn it off and go find something to do!!"
"I don't know, go find something. Use your imagination."
Just, you know, don't play with any dead animals. And there's no such thing as a doctor of the trees, so don't bother playing that either! I'm not raising a bunch of weirdos!