This afternoon marks the start of the girl’s summer holidays. 6 weeks of no school, 6 weeks of going bed when they want, getting up at whatever time, 6 weeks of no homework / spelling / reading practice. And 6 weeks of finding occupation.
Someone I was talking to recently berated youths for doing nothing but nuisance behaviour and the “When I was a lad” stuff too. I disagreed with him. When I was old enough to go charging around on my own, the summer holidays while boring in parts undoubtedly were also a time of exploring and playing. For instance, I played on numerous building sites, I played in arcades where fruit machines were unheard of as every arcade game was perfectly capable of sucking your money from you, I could wander round town with friends and not be harrassed by authority, we could go scrumping, or playing in rivers, or (the best one) pretend we’d gone to bed, stuffing a pillow down the middle of the bed and then spending the entire night out with mates. That one very nearly got me caught one time. But what have kids these days got ? Building sites are fenced off, arcades full of machines seem not to exist, groups of kids in towns are followed by CCTV and if they get caught scrumping there are more likely to get whacked with an ASBO than the back of a hand. They have nothing to do. And when that happens ……. I’m not being an apologist for the drug-takers and vandals – I’ve reported my share of those and would again – but if I take a hard look at what kids around here have to do it’s precious little. What they do have consists of a “place” where adults have designated that they can go. This place being fairly bland, as far away from civilisation as they can make it, yet with good sightlines for the police and Mr & Mrs Concerned Citizen. Hardly attractive is it ? It’s almost a ‘Holding Pen’ for youth. I’ve no idea what the answer is but the shame of it is that I don’t think anyone does.
Okay.. enough of that stuff … where did 6 weeks come from ? Who said kids need 6 weeks off ? And who says it can’t be changed – to less ? :)