*Disclaimer: this post is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Please don’t comment with hatred, especially if you a) profit from travel ball or b) are living through your kids. Thanks.
It seems no one really wants to be a mom these days.
According to Human Life International, the drop in birth rates is significant.
“That’s a pretty big thing; most of the world is transitioning into natural population decline,” says researcher Prof. Christopher Murray. “I think it’s incredibly hard to think this through and recognize how big a thing this is; it’s extraordinary, we’ll have to reorganize societies.”Professor Christopher Murray, “A Warning about Declining Birth Rates”
While scientists have all kinds of thoughts about the whys behind the decline, I suspect there’s a pretty good reason:
Young adults want to keep their weekends.
And having a child who will have to compete in travel sports (more on the whys behind the “have to” later) will destroy that dream.
In the world of modern parenting, a parent lives by the following mantra: “Damned if you do; damned if you don’t.”
Take cell phones, for example.
Who really and truly wants to give their second or third-grader access to the entire world—good, bad and downright ugly?
We have seen the constant stream of detrimental news, the stupid challenges grown adults are willing to participate in, and, worse, the profane amount of nudity, sex and debauchery to be found on the world wide web.
But here’s the thing: your child goes to school and school is nothing more than a dog-eat-dog social experiment in turning human beings into performance machinery.
School is like a bubble of hypocrisy where personality, looks, talent, money, intelligence and athleticism are worshiped.
All the while, we hypocritically shout, “Don’t bully! Love everyone! Be kind! Don’t judge!” from the sidelines.
It’s a place where grades are coveted but learning is shunned, anything will be done to win, including performance enhancing mechanisms and plain old cheating, and our children are taught to huddle together based on the previous social engineering of their parents, a group of “friends” put together by their mamas all the way back in pre-k.
It doesn’t matter if these kids really even like each other. No, the questions to ask are, What’s her last name? What does his father do? What does she look like, where do he live, and what extraordinary talent does she have?
What travel team is he on?
Enter the cell phone, the latest tool in grouping kids. No more hyper-color shirts, Girbaud jeans or team jackets. Nope.
Do you have a cell phone, and if so, how new?
You decide your kid is going to be different. You’re going to lead the charge of parents not giving their kids a literal $450 weapon crafted the form of “communication.”
But their classmates are talking about the latest Ryan’s World video, or how Cole and Savannah Labrant posted the cutest TikTok of Everleigh, or how Sophie in Mrs. McClendon’s class had a sleepover last weekend and well, they wanted to invite your child, but they had a group text about the sleepover and since your child doesn’t have a phone, your child wasn’t invited.
Not only that, everyone—I mean EVERYONE— in third grade saw the cute photos from the party, and now anyone who hangs out with Sophie is THE stuff. The literal STUFF.
Your child is now a social outcast, eight hours a day, but actually twenty-four hours a day, minus sleep, because nowadays, children get home from school, and onto their phones they go.
Damned if you do; damned if you don’t.
Why are we doing this to our children?
I think it’s pretty obvious that every generation wants their children to have a better life experience than they did.
In the 1800s, children were nothing more than hired hands or social status bringers meant to carry on the family name.
By the 1900s, we at least had some beginnings of child labor laws in America. We began to see that children were tiny humans with hearts and minds.
By the 1950s our focus actually shifted to the children. Our men and women were reeling from war, and even though we didn’t quite know about issues like PTSD, we knew enough to know we didn’t want our children to suffer the way we did.
We let our children go out on dates, we bought them cars, we purchased televisions and spent more time being entertained.
We worked less and rested more. And that was okay.
It was good, even. And although some counter-culture revolutions popped up, which in a sense, only caused the “normal” folks to pay more attention to their parenting, we stayed pretty much the same through the early 2000s.
There were sports teams back then, sure.
But once sports were televised and advertisements abounded, athlete-worship began, the belief that our kids should and would become one of the Greats.
Even so, my husband says, “Back in my day [the late 90s], children played city ball and all-stars, and you looked forward to the day you might be picked to play select in the summer.”
If you played sports at all in the “old” days, you simply didn’t play sports year-round, and when you did play summer ball, it was because you were good. Really good.
In a sense, I get why things shifted. Life has grown a little more complicated.
I’m not sure if mental illness was as prevalent back then, if opportunity was less frequent, or if our mentally deranged have such an overload of pleasure at their fingertips now that they are pushed into committing acts of sedition more than ever before.
I get that parents now aren’t parents then. We know too much now. We’ve seen horror like never before, a different kind of horror, pure evil and madness.
We can’t just let our kids run wild. It’s not just a fantasy in our minds; it’s truth. We really can’t. The world is full of people who wish to do children harm.
Gone are the days of allowing our children to roam free on bikes, to romp through the woods or spend the night at random people’s houses.
But I’m not sure that warrants spending every Friday-Sunday at a sports complex. I’m not sure we should be carting our kids to practice three nights a week for hours on end or paying for “experts” to help our child craft the perfect soccer kick or baseball swing.
Have we gone too far in parenting our children to excess?
I think maybe the pendulum has swung too far. And it’s made the children we’re worshiping think we’re just a little crazy.
So crazy, in fact, that I think our young adults, those kids aged 15-25 or so, say, “Absolutely not!” when it comes to having children.
Why would they want to?
Why would they even want to grow up, really? (That’s a post for another day.)
Why would they want to spend weekends at a ballfield, when they could spend it traveling with friends, lying in bed binging on Netflix, putting on the golf course, or shopping downtown?
Why in the world do we think that we’re showing our young people how fun it is to be an adult?
Our young adults are watching how miserable we grown-ups are.
They aren’t dumb or blind. They see that we are stressed, frustrated, angry and bitter.
They see our lack of self-care, our abundance of work-related issues, our confusion about health care, aging, government spending, etc.
Coupled with all the world discord, climate change, and growing decline of our long-held beliefs and systems, our children are watching us fail at this adulting thing.
What Is the Answer to Our Current Adulting Mistakes?
We need to hit the pause button. Again.
You see, I think God (that’s my word for the universe but feel free to insert yours) gave us a great gift in the midst of the evil of the C-word in 2020.
There was this moment where all was calm. The creation was healthier, it seemed. Trees were greener, air was cleaner, bugs and birds were flying to and fro, happier than ever before.
And although our world was being ravaged by sickness or death, there was a strange juxtaposition of family time and rest.
Laughter in the midst of fear abounded.
We watched television shows together, the way we used to on Friday nights in the 70s and 80s.
Movies and popcorn on the couch were enjoyed more than ever before.
And I’m willing to bet not one child missed a classroom. Not one.
They missed their friends, socializing, Friday night lights, or Saturday baseball.
I’m also thinking they never missed travel sports, tests in school, or time spent worrying about the future and how they would manage to perform.
Now more than ever, parents need to take back their lives and let the kids be kids.
We need to go back to adulting, and let our children just be children.
Let them make their own friends.
Let them pick their own activities.
Don’t give into the phone too soon.
Stop the travel sports.
Go back to city ball.
Get your weekends back.
Let the kids be kids.
Allow them to play outside, even if it’s just the backyard.
Drop them off at the movies and let them make out a little like old times. (All the research shows they’re socializing in person less than ever before!)
Force them to read a book of their choosing—for fun!-=-and don’t let up until they’ve gotten through an entire one (and can tell you what happened).
Mirror in your own life what you want their adulthoods to look like. Are you a martyr? Is that what you’re hoping to raise?
Let the kids be kids. And you return to being an adult.
Imagine the next generation. With travel teams starting younger and younger now, what will weekends look like in the future?
What will parenting look like?
Will parents even exist in the future?
Not at the rate we’re going now.
And we’ll have no one but ourselves to blame.
Let’s fix parenting now, before it’s too late.
See you soon,