When I was a kid, one of my prized possessions was a red Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycle. Schwinn introduced the Sting-Ray in 1963 and I got mine in ’64.
My friends and I would build a jumping ramp in the alley in the middle of our block. About half of the alley was paved, and the rest was gravel mixed with small pieces of broken glass, worn benign over the years by tires. For some reason, we preferred this part of the alley for our ramp. Certainly, if you wiped out it would hurt more, but the ugly road rash was good for increased street cred at school, so it was probably worth the risk.
The ramp was made of a 1”x12” maybe six feet long, one end raised by two cinder blocks. We would roar down the slight incline as fast as our tiny legs and the 20-inch wheels could propel us, hit the ramp, and fly as far as we could before stopping with a side skid, spewing rocks and glass. We wiped out a lot, but it didn’t stop us from continuing.
One kid, David, lived in a house next to the alley. He had an overbearing mother. David decided to take the ramp with his massive Western Flyer bike, complete with 26-inch wheels, a fake gas tank, a headlight, and a rear carrier.
He came barreling down the alley at a higher speed than any of us could achieve and at considerably higher mass. This behemoth hit the board with such force that it split in half lengthwise, and David and the bike plowed into the cinder blocks. He went over the handlebars and face-planted into the gravel, followed by the Western Flyer, which added injuries to David and itself.
He ran screaming into his house, causing the rest of us to realize that, considering we were about to get a visit from his mother, ramp-jumping was over for the day. She flew out of her back door with a scolding hot enough to cause sunburn. She blamed us for corrupting her precious, delicate boy who was now gravely injured (he wasn’t) and admonished us never to set up a ramp again or she would tell our parents. We no longer had a board anyway, so that was that.
Undeterred, we chose teams and started a war with rotting walnut fruit. While growing, walnuts have a green husk that makes them about the size of a tennis ball, and when rotting on the ground the husk turns a wet, squishy, smelly brown — perfect for waging war, and stained clothing, on other 7-to-10-year-olds. This activity lasted until someone (me) got semi-seriously hurt by a direct hit on one lens of my glasses by a slimy, rotting walnut. This broke the frame and lens, caused some minor cuts, and gave me a lovely black eye, which I employed in a lie to the other kids at school that I had gotten into a fight with some hoodlum from the other side of town (“Yeah, you should see the other guy”). I also got a sugar-and-butter sandwich on white bread to salve my wounded face and pride. This incident was typical of the condition we were experiencing at the time.
We were children having a childhood.
In addition to the various injuries, minor and serious, in childhood, we were developing skills and interests that for many remain in use in adulthood.
Learning in a Real Way
That Sting-Ray was not only a mode of transportation but, in my case, a laboratory. I dismantled that bike down to the bearing races. Every screw, bolt, bracket, collar — every single component of that Sting-Ray lay on my bedroom floor, to the consternation of my parents who paid for it. When I put it back together and it worked as new, they were relieved. And impressed.
I did the same with my 10-speed, radio, record player, clock, and anything else I could lay my hands on that could be dismantled. That activity started me on a lifelong interest in things mechanical and the acquisition of a skill set that I use nearly every day, which has been instrumental in my career. This kind of inquisitiveness would be impossible to satisfy from a hands-off computer screen. Today’s children don’t know what they’ve lost, and contemporary education might brainwash them so thoroughly they never realize it.
Schools Today Are Child Abuse
This critical phase in a child’s development is being robbed from today’s kids and it’s criminal. The school systems and teachers unions are at fault for, among other crimes, sexualizing their students at younger and younger ages. It wasn’t that long ago that talking about sex with other people’s children would get you arrested.
In addition to sexualization, our schools currently teach children to hate or fear each other based on immutable characteristics, to judge others by skin color, to have the bejabbers scared out of them over dubious climate claims, to create dependencies on authorities and the government, and to practice groupthink.
This propaganda-driven curriculum quashes imagination, individualism, and the development of talents and interests. This is child abuse on an institutional scale.
Back When It Was a Saner World
When I went to school they taught us reading, writing, arithmetic, history, art, music, physical fitness, and other useful stuff. Here’s what we did not learn from our teachers:
- Their marital status
- Their sexual proclivities
- Gender (except in French, German, and Spanish classes)
- LGBTQQIA++++ ANYTHING
- Sex (Later in high school they offered sex ed, but it was so clinical I’m sure it prolonged virginity for the majority of students.)
- Cartoon porn
- Drag queens
- Critical anything except thinking
And they certainly did not suggest we chop off our genitals.
They also addressed us by our names, used our actual pronouns, and separated the boys and girls in sports and bathrooms. They taught us to respect and obey our parents and to be proud Americans. They taught us about civic duty.
We learned about slavery and the Civil War, the Revolution, World War I and II, Anne Frank and the Holocaust, and just about everything that lefties now claim we are trying to suppress. We were taught that bigotry is evil and, Ibram X. Kendi’s bleatings notwithstanding, most of us learned not to be racist.
Even at that age, and during those “unenlightened” times, all of us kids could tell the difference between males and females — without instructions from our teachers. And we distinguished these differences without being sexualized.
Later, when we started to naturally, at our bodies’ pace, become more sexually aware, our perceptions changed, and that was the end of childhood innocence and the beginning of transitioning into adulthood. But for a while, we got to be children.
Kids now are having their childhoods stolen, and once that innocence is gone, no effort as an adult can recapture it.
Childhood. This is the joy of not knowing anything about sex.