Our Fascination With Growth Stunting

growth stuntingToday’s parents are dead set on seeing that their children do not grow up. “I can’t believe Martha has her 11-year-old daughter folding clothes. Why can’t they let her simply be a child.” Chores that children had or tools that children used decades ago are now marketed as toys, designed to be “played with.” We have bubble blowing lawnmowers, plastic kitchen sets, vacuum cleaners (replaceable bag included), dolls with diapers that urinate, and power tools that whiz and whir. And the most prideful moment for the parents come when they sit back and bask in their cute Suzy “preparing a plastic dinner” or Billy bubbling the lawn again.

What is the outcome of this kind of thinking? Well, the outcome is what we see in our present day. Ladies can’t cook and even joke about the fact that their husbands do all the cooking. Men cannot fix a leaky faucet. Lawn mower engines are locked up. And all the while I constantly overhear people stating that they wish they could to ________ like their grandmothers or grandfathers did. We seem to have a fascination with growth stunting.

And then there are those families who strive to avoid flooding their children with toys. There is a farm near us where the 9-year-old drives the tractor unsupervised. The other 9-year-old a mile down the road plays Gameboy while he waits for his John Deere battery operated mower to be charged. There are plenty of 6-year-olds capable and actually enthused about changing their little sister’s diaper. I have one. And there are other 6-year-olds who wish to merely stick with “Betsy the bedwetter.” 

So the cycle seems to be in full swing. Christmas is coming. Johnny wants that Little Tikes tool set so he can be like the plumber that fixes dad’s “unrepairable” blunders. Sarah wants that kitchen set so she can prepare dinner like mom…..the very mom who likes to shoo her from the kitchen. 

Here is an idea…… how about we give them what they really want, real life. Let’s let them cook with us in the kitchen and fold the clothes. Men, lets learn to fix the faucet and buy them a real tool box so they can help us. But then again who am I to say. It may be a deeper issue, possibly not so much the toys, but the time and investment…….

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