(yes i know the formatting here is balls, so what)http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/10/18/no.tag.ap/index.html
Man, i grew up in a neighborhood with 2 gangs of highschool kids fighting among themselves, and screw you if you were a 10 year old who wasn't in family with any of the gang kids. Me and my buddies formed a little gang of our own. Since playing in the parks and such was basically asking for trouble, we had such a tough time finding "safe" places to play, and it's weird to look back at it now and think of how ridiculously unsafe it was.
We built a fort in the woodworks of this bridge:
Among those boarded sections underneath. We'd stock up on candy and coke, sit in our bundle of boards, look at what floated past in the river below, and count through whatever fireworks we'd collected last newyears. We printed out the anarchist cookbook at my dad's office (he was a teacher back then), we'd go to the gas depot to get dry ice for bombs and other such nonsense. When winter came and we didnt dare go under the bridge (we had to do a lot of awkward climbing to get under there), we looked for alternatives nearby.
We found a passage between two buildings that gave us access to the supports under the riverside buildings. I dare say we owned the river for years. We'd go shoplifting, go under the buildings to count our loot.
We found a way to the roof of the old WW2 submarine bunkers at the harbor . I remember buying water melons and other squishy stuff only to bring it up to the roof of Dora and throw it off the building. Splat.
The best fun we had when i was a 2nd and 3rd grader was going to Kristianstèn fortress
At the time they were doing army exercises in the area, and part of the fun was finding a way up the fortess walls and get into the main grounds without being seen. One of the best childhood memories i have was sitting on the walls of that fortress with my then-best-buddy Tor-Egil at a summer night (bright night), and hearing Deathprod
playing from scaffolds at the TMV festival. TMV, or Trondheim Mechanical Workshop, was just a bunch of dry docks and artist studios, and they'd throw these ridiculous rock festivals. Deathprod's "Treetop drive", rolling like fucking thunder across town, and me running like a madman from the fortress to TMV to get closer.
Super old picture heh, can't believe that tripod crane was that old. We climbed to the top of it to see the Deathprod show. It was scary and awesome.
At wintertime, all the snow in the school yard would be plowed into these enormous heaps, and of course the kids would play king of the hill on it. It was sheer madness, you had 6th graders tossing 2nd graders on their heads, and not a teacher in sight. The sense of being able to gang up on one of the bigger kids and bringing the fucker down was about as good as it could get.
God what's so wrong with kids feeling LIFE? I asked my mother about how she felt about the things i did when i was lil and she basically said "after a while, i realized it was meaningless to try and stop you, so i tried to ignore it". I'm so happy she did.. I had friends then whose mothers basically held them by their necks, and it always sucked when they couldnt come out to play, and we'd be telling them about what we did later and they'd be so sad about it. I think true motherly love is in guiding your child, not in controlling it. When i overstepped, you better believe i heard about it. When i stole money from my mother when we were in a terrible rut, and she slapped me, you better believe i never stole from my mom again, and you better believe i learned that money has more value than candy and GI Joes (i collected cobras). Parents should know when discipline and "reality" matters and when it doesn't. I'm not saying i turned out wonderfully, but i have nothing but positive memories of my childhood, and if i'm scarred i'm scarred by what i've done to myself, NOT by what i've experienced, and believe me i've fallen and cracked my head open a good few times. My right eyebrow makes no sense at all anymore.
Kids need danger, and pain, and loss. They need all these things because it makes them stronger, and it makes them more compassionate. Kids won't understand what inflicting pain is until they've been inflicted pain upon, and i think a parent's role, AND the educational system's as well, is to comfort, explain and guide. Not judge, control and shove. I feel terrible thinking about kids today, because their parents are under such immense pressure to mold their children, and i think it's creating a lost generation of conforming fools who don't know the first thing about truly having fun on nature's premises, not through toys, not through technology, not even through other people, but through exploring the world, learning and experiencing the pain of fucking up and realizing you're the only one to blame.
Children must learn to be diligent, or they'll come out as spoiled assholes without the ability to fight for what they believe in on other terms than the purely advantageous. They need to do like i did, ride an unfinished custom bike down the steepest road in their home town without knowing it doesn't have any brakes. Be so scared they're moments from pissing and shitting their pants and throwing up all at the same time, and then come out of it with a hard learned lesson. They need bruises and cuts, they need to staple themselves to the table by accident. They need to see their own blood and know what it means.
They have the right to know they're REAL and WHAT's real, and i think it's the parent's role to give their kids that right.