October 5, 2009

Guest Post: Author Scott Gale

When I was a kid, nothing made me more excited than hopping on my bike, riding to the nearest orange grove with my friends, and picking up oranges that had fallen from the tree, and then "hucking" them at each other. A small creek separated the orange groves from open fields of mustard plants. These fields provided the perfect hiding spot for a young warrior after he’d gathered adequate orange ammunition.
Whether we divided into teams, fought every-man-for-himself, or just took target practice, my friends and I could count on two things: we’d have a ball and we’d come home dirty. Beyond that, nothing mattered. We’d get bruised and bloodied on occasion, but it was all part of the thrill. Hours would slip away as we battled, laughed, cried, and wore ourselves out under the hot summer sun.
At first glance, these orange fights may sound barbaric, immature, and messy. They were! That’s what made them fun. Unfortunately, in modern society, many kids wouldn’t want to expend the effort to bike several miles, run around for several hours, then bike home. Quite frankly, even kids wanted too, today’s parents would likely take exception to unsupervised activities outside the range of their immediate purview.
Maybe I=E 2m old-school, but I believe the erosion of kids’ thirst for creative outdoor activities is a sad commentary on our society. Instead of fighting battles in the orange groves, they wage wars on the X-box. They sit in a sedentary position, exposing themselves to horrific violent images for hours on end, instead of using their creative nature to spend the afternoon burning off energy under the sun with their friends.
As a parent, I want and need to know that my boys understand the utter magic of the outdoors. If it means using our Family Constitution to limit their hours in front of a TV or computer screen, or getting out there and playing the games with them myself, my children will not lose site of what is important in life and personal development.
It really is up to us, the parents of the cyber generation, to make sure the intrigue and wonder of outdoor play does not become a forgotten passion. We’ll have to continually work at it…but seeing kids run around without a care in the world is the most precious site in the world.


  1. Thanks very much for the opportunity to guest post on your site.

  2. nice guest post. i definitely agree about this. i'm not big on being outdoors these days...but that doesn't mean i'd want my future kids cramped up in the house all day. i wasn't like that when i grew up. i played in the woods, rode my bike, had fun!