June 27, 2014

"Unscheduled, unsupervised, playtime is one of the most valuable educational opportunities we give our children."

"The value of free play,  daydreaming, risk-taking, and independent discovery have been much in the news this year, and a new study by psychologists at the University of Colorado reveals just how important these activities are in the development of children’s executive functioning."
Executive function is a broad term for cognitive skills such as organization, long-term planning, self-regulation, task initiation, and the ability to switch between activities. It is a vital part of school preparedness and has long been accepted as a powerful predictor of academic performance and other positive life outcomes such as health and wealth. The focus of this study is “self-directed executive function,” or the ability to generate personal goals and determine how to achieve them on a practical level. The power of self-direction is an underrated and invaluable skill that allows students to act productively in order to achieve their own goals.
When I was a kid, virtually all time not spent in school or sleeping and eating was free play time. Nobody ever spoke of "executive function" or projected developmental improvements of any kind. I was born in 1951, the same year as Bill Bryson, whose wonderful memoir "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" describes how we played back then:
[K]ids were always outdoors... and they were always looking for something to do. If you stood on any corner with a bike—any corner anywhere—more than a hundred children, many of whom you had never seen before, would appear and ask you where you were going. “Might go down to the Trestle,” you would say thoughtfully. The Trestle was a railway bridge over the Raccoon River from which you could jump in for a swim if you didn’t mind paddling around among dead fish, old tires, oil drums, algal slime, heavy metal effluents, and uncategorized goo. It was one of ten recognized landmarks in our district. The others were the Woods, the Park, the Little League Park (or “the Ballpark”), the Pond, the River, the Railroad Tracks (usually just “the Tracks”), the Vacant Lot, Greenwood (our school), and the New House. The New House was any house under construction and so changed regularly....

And when you got to the Trestle or the Vacant Lot or the Pond there would already be six hundred kids there...

Life in Kid World, wherever you went, was unsupervised, unregulated, and robustly—at times insanely—physical....

47 comments:

ALP said...

I was born in 1961...and have very fond memories of playing in CONSTRUCTION SITES....that were devoid of workers on the weekends. Being a child during the intense suburban expansion era meant that nearly everywhere we lived for a while was new construction...with more going on the next lot over. Totally unsupervised fun was to be had every weekend and in the evenings when the workers left.

Can you even imagine it today?

The fun we had with the various building materials!!!!

Original Mike said...

I was born in 1955. We were expected to make our own fun, which we did. The descriptions I read of childhood today sounds like it's from another planet.

Popville said...

The Bill Bryson memoir appears to be a great summer read. Thanks for the tip!

John said...

I grew up in that unsupervised time as well. I personally knew 2 kids that got run over by cars, 1 that drowned, and one that died falling down step stairs, all unsupervised.

Captain Ned said...

I'm a bit younger than you (born in '64) but share the meme of "out of house, out of mind". As long as I was home by dinner time all was good.

We are doing our children a massive disservice through this belief that all play must be supervised and managed. The worst part is that this belief is driven by Nancy Grace types when the real stats show that I was far more at risk in 1977 than my daughter would be today.

Levi Starks said...

I would say that from the time I was about 7 my mom would send me out to do whatever I wanted, and never came looking for me. She was a little startled that time I came home with a box full of about 40 little tiny snakes I collected from the site of an old demolished building.
Could something bad have happened to me? I suppose so, but in the 60's we hadn't been trained to live in fear of every possible danger. As what would today be termed a hyperactive child, my world revolved around 3 months of unsupervised activity where I could spend entire days full of whatever came into my head.

Anglelyne said...

When I was a kid, virtually all time not spent in school or sleeping and eating was free play time.

God, no kidding. It really was kid paradise when and where I grew up. Pretty much complete freedom to disappear from adult supervision over a remarkably extensive "roaming range" with other kids. Or I could hole up and read whatever I wanted for as long as I wanted. TV was a couple of cartoons on Saturday morning, max - then out the door.

We tried to give our own kids as much of that as we could, but their natural companions in adventure - other neighborhood kids, of which there were plenty - were unfortunately too often under the regime of real buzzkill helicoptering parents. And we lived in freakin' Brigadoon, so it's not as if the world was any more dangerous than the one I grew up in.

Tom said...

I am a few years younger than you and grew up within a stone's throw of the beach. We routinely told our parents we were going to the beach (unsupervised), and their only worry was that we be home by the time the streetlights came on. Imagine a parent allowing that today.

Wilbur said...

I noticed about 25+ years ago that I never saw kids playing baseball. Not uniformed, umpired, parent-driven baseball (or that abomination, tee-ball), but neighborhood kids in a field or a vacant lot playing "right field out". From age 7 to 12, that's all we did every summer day from morning to dusk. Or something else under the rubric of "messing around".

Then I noticed kids were never outside playing anything. No jump rope, hopscotch or just riding bikes. It's like they disappeared from the earth.

I soon learned parents were frightened to death to let their kids just go outside.

carrie said...

That was my childhood too, but not my kid's childhood. There was a pond in our country subdivision that was like the trestle for my kids, but other than that I was terrified to let my kids go off on their own because I remembered the Jacob Wetterling and John Gosch kidnappings . . .

RonF said...

We have 3/4 of an acre with trees. I refused to have a video game console in the house. One fine day the kids said "Mom, we bored." To her eternal credit she said "Go outside and dig a hole." It was a foxhole. Then, when we bought a riding mower and had a crate left over, the sides of the crate were pressed into service to make a fort out of it. It's about 28 years later and that hole is still there and I'll never fill it in. I use it as a burn pit to illegally burn yard waste.

I'm sure the neighbors who have put $$'s into their landscaping were scandalized. Too bad.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Meanwhile, in 2013, my 11 year old daughter was taking her 3 year old brother for a walk in his stroller while I made dinner. She was walking the perimeter of our safe, sedate subdivision, along the main road outside, on a wide sidewalk that is separated from the road by a grass strip about six feet wide. This sidewalk is constantly full of joggers and dogwalkers.

A police car stopped to talk to her to make sure she was all right, because two--two--motorists had called to report "two unaccompanied children."

When I was a child in the 80s, everyone was an unaccompanied child. Now it's pretty much a CPS offense anytime a child is left unaccompanied at any time.

And I also love Bill Bryson, Althouse. Just picked up his newest book, One Summer.

Just Mike said...

The "new house" was also the perrenial source of free construction materials for the tree forts

traditionalguy said...

The bicycle was necessary for moving around the neighborhood to friend's houses and the ball fields. And the Bus system also worked. For very little money it would take us downtown for movie Double Features. That was safe at age 8-9.

The Bus system was also the necessary way of getting "colored maids" to and from the white neighborhood. A Maid's pay then was quoted as a $1.00 an hour and "car fare." Black maids mostly raised us children, so loving Black folks was very natural.



Alex said...

When I was 10 I was allowed to play in Rattlesnake Canyon. Just me and my stick poking rattler nests.

Original Mike said...

In the summer, with no school the next morning, we'd play outside until well after dark. Hide-n-seek is a lot more fun in the dark.

God, I loved summer.

Hunter said...

Born in '49, and this all this rings true to me. Bill Bryson exaggerates a bit (six HUNDRED kids?), but the type of places he describes were similar to what we visited as well - creeks, quarries, construction sites, etc. When I left the house, my parents expected me to tell them roughly where I was going, who I would be with, and when I would be back. They had no GPS to track me, but they did have pretty good BS detectors on what I said.

One of our next door neighbor's sons was struck and killed while riding his "flexi" (a wheeled sled) on the city streets. It was a terrible tragedy, but he was one of four children. I often wonder if smaller families have impacted parents' willingness to let their children take risks.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Small town Iowa was like that in the 1970s too.

Our neighborhood played a very rough game of bicycle tag. The boundaries were streets that gave us a 36 block grid in which to hide, search, and chase.

One trick was to hide in some stranger's garage. Running your bike into the other kid's bike was the accepted way to tag.

I did, on one occasion (but not playing bike tag), get run over by a car. My legs were paralyzed for 3 days. I suffered 3 or 4 head injuries requiring stitches.

Unleashed dogs roamed the streets, and on two afternoons delivering the local newspaper I got bit. I also delivered newspapers in blizzard conditions.

High school was the same. One of my classmates got shot while hunting racoons. Another was involved in an incident down along the railroad tracks where another boy got peppered by a shotgun blast. A third rolled his pickup truck in a drag race.

They say that is all gone but that is not entirely true. My nephews in Beaverton, Oregon had the police called on them for friends playing Dukes of Hazzard, jumping onto the hood of a moving car.

Kelly said...

Yes, playing chicken with the train was a fun past time. Getting into fights with other kids, playing in the stream near the sewage plant, jumping off the covered bridge into the river, throwing fire crackers at other kids, riding my bike ten miles out to my Grandparents farm, making a trip "uptown" every day for candy. We never got fat. Sleeping on the front porch or when it was really hot, on the main floor of the funeral home because that was the only part of the house that was air conditioned.

Luckily, living on an Army post I always felt safe letting my own kids roam free as well.

theribbonguy said...

"I was born in 1961.."

As was I. The only time we came in before dinner was to press our mom into service removing a splinter, or bandaging a skinned knee. We learned early on to never say "I'm bored". We would find ourselves doing chores instead of playing..still outside...still unsupervised.

Original Mike said...

My Dad would take me Up North on his hunting trips with his buddies. Once he taught me how to find my own way, and what to do if I couldn't make it back to camp at night, he'd let me go deep into the woods all day on my own. I bet I was 10 or so at the beginning. Kindled a life long love of the woods.

I don't think my Mom ever knew how long a leash I had on those trips.

YoungHegelian said...

AH, CHILDHOOD MEMORIES: Back in 1963 or 1964, when I was 6 or 7, some work men were building a small church across the street. Being the incredibly gregarious little kid I was, I decided to do a lunch-break visit with the construction crew who was laying the foundation for the new church.

Well, lunch break must have been over & I apparently wasn't taking the hint to leave (they couldn't have me around for my own safety, if for no other reason). There was this man, probably in his young 30's, who stood in front of me and said (imagine all dialogue in the thickest Alabama accents your mind can muster) and said "Hey, little boy, can you do this?" and he promptly plucked out his left eye ball and held it in front of my face. I remember looking at the eye between his thumb & index fingers in front of me & then staring up at his empty, pink socket. I then tried, gently, to remove my own eyeball with my thumb & index fingers, and quickly noticed my eyeball wasn't removable. I then said, in my most courteous Southern fashion, "N-N-No, sir, I don't think I can." to the now grinning one-eyed man. At this point, the foreman decides that if hints & brute fear won't work, it's time to be direct: "Little boy, it's time for you to go home now." And so, I walked across the street home, where my mother explained to me what glass eyes were.

I imagine after I left that the conversation went something like "Eugene, you tried to put the fear into that little boy, but he wasn't having none of it." I remember no fear, no horror, just intense curiosity at how could anyone pluck their eyeball out & put it back in like that.

Julie C said...

Amen. I am lucky to live in a suburb that for the most part allows my boys to do a lot of roaming without any nosy neighbors calling the cops. Recently my younger son and his friends found a way to access a creek (that normally would be fenced off) and they've been trying to build a beach for the last week.

A few years ago a group of teen boys decided to play a pick up football game on the large field at the local high school on a Sunday afternoon and some idiot neighbor called the cops to complain. The letters to the editor following that incident were thankfully of the "Are you freaking kidding me?" variety.

I was born in 1960 and we spent the entire summer outdoors except for meals and sleeping. And during thunderstorms we'd sit on our front porch and watch the excitement.

Loved the Bryson book too.

lgv said...

@ Wilbur. About 20 year ago I remember a documentary where they split screen kids playing a pick up game of baseball versus organized ball. Kids having a good time vs. parents and coaches screaming.

A bicycle, bat, glove and ball. A park, a creek with a swimming hole and a railroad bridge. That's all we needed for a summer of fun. We went places and saw and did things we could never tell our parents.

YoungHegelian said...

If you're not a baby-boomer, you lived in demographically different world. For those of us in the postwar baby-boom, we lived in a universe of children.

As a boy, I knew only one or two childless couples. I knew no one- child family. My family, two boys & one girl who died in infancy, was the smallest I knew.

In my Catholic parish, families of 6 to 8 kids were a dime a dozen. The Protestants generally stopped at four.

My co-workers used to wail & moan about how tough it was to find a teenage girl to baby sit. Let me tell you, it took my parents two calls at most to find a babysitter for my brother & me.

Carol said...

When I was 7 or 8 I used to roam all over the hills in Eagle Rock, Ca.

Years later my mother said if she'd known what I had been up to she would never have allowed me..lol she didn't care back then.

There were so many kids about in the 50s I think some parents kinda hoped some of us would get lost.

Heatshield said...

I grew up the same as all the stories here. Unsupervised playing outside or chores inside. Those were the choices, not difficult. So what caused the change? What was so wrong? I have never understood why this big culture change occurred.

Kirk Parker said...

Wilbur,

"neighborhood kids in a field or a vacant lot playing "right field out". From age 7 to 12, that's all we did every summer day from morning to dusk."

That was my childhood too.

Anonymous said...

1953 here.

Idiot do-gooders have ruined childhood for today's children.

rhhardin said...

I spent childhood very bored.

Except around the 4th of July, when we made rifles out of pipes and cherry bombs and fired marbles into large tree trunks.

Jupiter said...

"So what caused the change? What was so wrong? I have never understood why this big culture change occurred."

I grew up like the other folks on this thread. I remember the time me and Larry climbed up on the huge bulldozer at the construction site. There was a big yellow button, and so of course I pushed it, and the engine turned over! No keys. Scared a minute fraction of the Hell out of me.

Thinking about why I don't let my kids wander like that,

a) my parents grew up in the country, in large families. They had no conception of any other way to raise kids.

b) there were fewer cars around then, and a very different class of people drove them.

c) perhaps most important, there was a different approach to the concept of "accidents". Accidents were things that happened, without regard to anything one did. Shit happens, no one's to blame. I suppose when you spend your time around farm animals and equipment, that is a fairly accurate assessment. "Luck" means having all your fingers.

Lori said...

What changed?
Two words: working mothers.

I can say that, because I am one. And I wasn't one. And the difference is: if I'm home, and the kids are out and someone calls the cops because they're walking along unsupervised, I know the situation and can explain it and defend them. And more importantly, defend myself.

If I'm at work? Then I need the kids to be where I know they are. That's at home, or someone else's house, or at some other activity.

My youngest is 15 and loves to roam the trails and creeks. It's hard when I'm at work, but I let him. He has to text me when he leaves for such-and-such a place, and when he arrives. As I've told him, so I have a point of reference to give the cops in case he goes missing.

I'm a 60s child and grew up with my mother at home, and me out in the neighborhood. Oh, and one last thing: it would still be ok to let your kids roam if it weren't for the high-profile child abductions. No matter how miniscule the chance, the factor of 1) it happening and 2) you not being there to prevent it, makes Moms put the new rules in place.

MountainMan said...

I was also born in 1951 and grew up in Atlanta. I can relate to all of this. During the summer my mother would get my older brother and me up early, feed us, tell us to get dressed and then we were off. We only came home for lunch, then back out, then home for dinner. We had a large and beautiful city park within walking distance and we went there nearly every day to swim (free pool until noon), and later play tennis, baseball, and basketball with all the other kids. We rode bikes everywhere, sometimes going miles from our neighborhood to visit friends from school. Often we got together with other kids in the neighborhood and played "war" as we all had toy rifles and cap pistols. Pine cones made great hand grenades. Sometimes we had real army gear, like ammo belts, helmets, and canteens. Everyone's dad was a WWII vet and a couple of my neighbors were retired army officers from Ft. McPherson and their kids would sometimes have other gear, like trench shovels we could use for digging. We had lots of woods to play in and we would build forts from tree limbs and scrap lumber. One of our favorite places was an unusual large, perfectly rectangular dug out area we called "The Fort." It wasn't until I was an adult doing genealogy and Civil War research that I came to realize it was a remnant of Confederate fortifications. And I can't remember anything bad ever happening to anyone, except maybe a skinned knee or elbow once in a while. My mother didn't even fuss at me one time when I came home for dinner dripping wet after falling in the creek. Kids today just don't have the fun as we did. And we were never bored. Those were great times.

Bruce Hayden said...

The "new house" was also the perrenial source of free construction materials for the tree forts

Never did understand why my parents bought into our story about perfectly good lumber being thrown away at those construction site. Full sheets of plywood, and full length 2x4s. Plus, of course, the requisite nails. Didn't have a tree really near, so built a two story fort on the ground. Don't remember where we got the concrete though for the corner posts, but did.

Looking back, I feel lucky that we moved from regular suburbia to a more rural suburbia, up against the mesas just east of Golden, CO when I was 10. By junior high, we had horses during the school year, and would ride on top of the mesas for many miles every afternoon. As with the others here, we just had to be back by dinner time. I don't think my parents to this day know how far we would range every day. But, with 5 boys, there were a lot of spares, in case something happened to one of them. (Which really didn't work out that well when we did lose one).

Everyone in the neighborhood had 4 or 5 kids (except for the neighbors to the west, who only had two). And, even with houses spread out like they were, there were plenty of boys to play with (why would anyone want to play with girls?)

One big difference is that family sizes were so much larger then. When my kid grew up, one or two kids were considered normal. Only the very rich at their private school had the 4 or 5 that many of us grew up with. You just cannot afford to do the job that we are expected to do raising our kids, with more than a couple of kids.

Times have changed.

The Godfather said...

I was born in 1943, a little older than a lot of the commenters, but I grew up with an incredible amount of freedom compared to my grandchildren. My wife, essentially my age, grew up in Queens and Nassau County, NY, and went to school and museums by subway unescorted by any adult. Yet when our 5-year old granddaughter rode her tricycle two blocks to a friend's house without bothering to tell anyone, it was a major crisis.

So my question is: How did we screw up our children or the society in which they live that our grandchildren don't have the freedom and experiences that we had.

gpm said...

Just shy of three years younger than Althouse. Childhood much the same, with some wrinkles perhaps added by the location (South Side of Chicago, in much more idyllic times in that location).

Before and even after introduction of the pernicious "Little League" (which, for better or worse, my parents didn't force me into), summer daytimes were largely spent playing softball (16 inch, natch, with a lopsided Clincher held together with duct tape) on the street intersection. Sewers for pitcher's mound and bases. "Right field out" if there weren't enough players. "Pitcher's hands out" if there weren't enough players to have a first baseman. Ad hoc rules for balls hitting parked cars, etc. And yelling "Hey, mister, what else did you get for Christmas" at the a*holes that thought the streets were actually meant for driving cars on and beeped at us in the middle of a game.

In addition to the usual jump rope, hop scotch, hide 'n go seek, all the versions of "tag, you're it" (frozen tag, poison tag, etc.), we also had a bunch of street games, including, off the top of my head: Three Feet in the Mud Puddle, Uncle Sam, Lemon Squeeze, Run Sheep Run, Statue Maker, and one I can't even come up with a name for ("Somebody stole a diamond from the store, could it be number one . . . who me, couldn't be, then who, number two . . ., etc."). Some (particularly Three Feet in the Mud Puddle) with fairly elaborate rules handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth, which, as far as I know, have now completely died out. I've had it in the back of my mind to write a little monograph about the ones in our neighborhood (really, on our block) one day, hopefully before all my older siblings die off and I can get some input from them.

Bikes were the standard means of locomotion (also used for paper routes, which I did in 7th and 8th grades). However, you could also just go down to the corner, catch a CTA bus, pay 12 cents, and go to the beach on Lake Michigan about five miles away. Which we just did on our own when I was in grammar school. Then there was "Riverview Day" shortly before graduation from grammar school, when all the Eighth Graders just took the CTA to go on our own to Riverview (a beloved Chicago precursor to Six Flags and the like that closed after my Eighth Grade year).

We also just walked about a mile to the local movie theater (and sometimes either walked or took the CTA a couple of miles to some other movie theaters, or even took the el downtown) to see movies. I recall being the chaperone when I was still in grammar school for some younger siblings and nieces and nephews.

As others have said, all that mattered was getting home by the time the street lights went on. I won't even go into all the crazy things I did riding the el all over the city in the middle of the night when I was in high school. Maybe I'm wrong (and I have no skin in the game), but I think what has changed is more parents' (mis)conceptions about the dangers than what the dangers actually are.

--gpm

Tom said...

Another thought: I don't remember any grossly obese kids when I was growing up, and those considered fatties (or "hefty," as they were called then) were only mildly overweight by today's standards.

Sure, there wasn't as much junk food back then, but I think spending an entire day out and about, riding bikes, running, hiding, chasing, and just walking around certainly had something to do with it.

Ann Althouse said...

I love all these stories of kid life, back then.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

I'm fifty-four and it's amazing to me how much common experience I had with the other kids in the comments.

We went to "the ditch", "the tree" (a tree that had fallen across the ditch), "the bypass" (really the bridge where the new bypass crossed the railroad tracks), "Crooms" (pond that was on the Crooms property about 3 miles away, "Dovers" (one of the three ponds on the Dover's property, exciting because we had to run through a pasture with a bull in it to get there), the "new house" (same deal, always changing location and we took anything we could get for our treeshouses in "the woods",(often the older kids made the younger kids do the stealing as initiation into "the club"), "the treehouse" (again, frequently moving but sometimes the same for a year or two), The Little League Field, the Babe Ruth Field, the football field, Mack Jones (the name of the man who owned the store) and on and on.

We found "dirty books" in grocery sacks thrown out on the side of the gravel roads on the edge of town. The older boys would read them to the younger boys in the tree houses. That's how we learned about sex. I don't know what the deal was with the dirty books being thrown out beside the road but we found them frequently. Traditional Playboy type magazines but often those cheap paperbacks "novels" without pictures. We also found full beers and occasionally part of a bottle of liquor. Smoked grapevines when we couldn't buy, or steal, cigarettes. But we could buy cigarettes 2 for a nickel at the store across the tracks by the cotton gin.

Kids everywhere in my neighborhood of 3 bedroom, 1 bath houses. There were 2-6 kids in just about every house. Often we left early in the morning and didn't return until dinner. Drank water out of water hoses, ate fruit out of trees, stold watermelons when we could, berries and plums, bought Tennessee River Crook cigars that were allegedly dipped in rum and cured and we camped out all night and smoked them and played like we were drunk. It was wonderful and hardly anyone ever got hurt too bad.

MountainMan said...

One more thing I thought about early this morning. As several mentioned, most of our mothers did not work and stayed home. But I think a big factor, at least in Atlanta and probably across the South, that got us out playing and exploring every day is that our houses were not air conditioned. If you stayed inside, you were miserable. We finally got some window units for the bedrooms when I was older, but when we were young we didn't want to be inside.

Hunter said...

Another thing which made this world possible was a general authority granted to all adults.

If we ever started to make real trouble, any nearby adult could ask us to stop and expect to be obeyed. It was highly probable that such an adult knew at least one of us and could threaten to "call your parents". It was almost never necessary to involve the police.

Ipso Fatso said...

I'm 57 and can relate to a great many of the stories here. Couple thoughts, the woman who pointed out the difference between working and non-working mothers hit in on the head. I can't remember any working mothers from my childhood. Also I think technology has had a profound effect on kids and how they spend their time. Every one is wired 24/7 it seems particularly the young. We had to make up our own games and activities as others have pointed out. It was a great time to grow up, my guess is that the closer you live to a big city the less you are out doors and doing things on your own. I rarely see kids out playing in parks, etc. Sad.

jaed said...

if I'm home, and the kids are out and someone calls the cops because they're walking along unsupervised, I know the situation and can explain it and defend them.

That sounds more like a change in police attitudes than in working mothers.

I have a hard time imagining a 50s or 60s mother saying the reason she had to be home was so there would be someone to defend her kids from the police if they were caught walking unsupervised.

CatherineM said...

I was born in '69 and we still had childhoods on Long Island. I remember being at the "wooden park" in Northport harbor, which had a maze of climbing structures, attached with wobbly bridges, poles to slide down and balance beams between. I never knew the kids, but there was a constant game of tag going on where it was challenging to run the course and climb the structures while trying not to get tagged. I remember a narrow escape down a pole that impressed the crowd.

That same space today has the lamest playground ever. Everything is 3 inches off the ground and boring!!!

CatherineM said...

I was never home either, but we knew our neighbors.

After dinner we would have group jump rope (5 kids could jump at once) in the street or play running bases.

When it rained we would be out in it building dams. I remember making "soup" with rain water and the onions from onion grass. We also walked to school in the rain. In my current hood kids are driven 4 blocks if it's raining creating a ridiculous jam

We would hang by the rr for hours smooshing pennies and other things on the tracks.

CatherineM said...

Misplaced pants - I was a paid babysitter by 11. I was looking after babies by 12.

My generation must have been the last to have fun.

Original Mike said...

"Another thing which made this world possible was a general authority granted to all adults."

Good point.