Where do the children play

I was listening to an old Cat Stevens track called as per title above and it occurred to me that these days there is nowhere they can.

In my youth we were free and safe to run in the grass and the woods, but over the years the concrete encroaches on the wilds, it pushes out to cover the land and in the process leaves the children more and more isolated from nature.

At 5 years old I knew the sound of a badger's cough, a foxes bark, a blackbird's call from any other. Do they now? No, not because they are less interested, but because they have never been exposed to those sounds.

In my very early teens I was taken under the wing of a gillie. He seemed ancient to me then, but he must have been about 40 I suspect. This man took me out into the wilds. He taught me to track. To tell the print of the badger from the wildcat. To listen to the noises and sometimes the absence of those noises, in the mountain lands and to know why the sudden silences happened.

I have tried to teach my children this, but of the two, only one could accept the lessons I tried to impart. The other has, unfortunately, been lost to the god of business. Of the almighty pound/dollar and I count that loss as my failure.

I and my children were lucky. In my youth I walked the highland ways of my native Scotland. I walked them with a great teacher and he caused me to love the wild lands. I have wild lands, flat granted, close to where I now live so I had the opportunity to try to pass on this love of the open, free, wild paces to my childern.

It took root in one of them and for that I am grateful. What I learned I have passed on to at least one of them, but what of the others?

What of the city kids? Those brought up in the brick and concrete?

Where will those children and their children play?

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Published in Senior Chatters


  1. lani36

    HelloWaylander, opposite where I live are our Beautiful Gardens and lake.. in the grounds there id a million dollar coun cilplayground,which the Rotary club of ballarat built fior the local childrenand the tourists families.its one of the most beautiful imaginative playgrounds I have ever seen , when I have a chance I will go over , it,s only across the road from me and will take a picture , the children love it and it,s never empty ,only in the inclement weather … and scattered around our town , are many more playgrounds for the local children , fortunately where I live the back yards are very large as they are in most country towns in Austrlaia and many organised sporting events , being a sunny country,manychildren participate in these clubs and swimming is always on the cards,even the cities have many playgrounds set aside for children here ….sad when they live in high rises though ….

  2. roseinbloom

    waylander, the children don’t play as we did and here in USA. Most are in worse shape than I am at 70. For real. We have children with type 2 diabetes, overweight and bodies flabby and no sign of a muscle. It is tragic and sad. Young people sit inside and play on technical devices . We do have some school organized sports but there is no fresh air and children are not allowed to roam freely. Tragic and needs to change. Our life expectancy is going down.

  3. vonMichael

    Hey Way,

    I spend the first ten year in the country and for 5years I joint the boyscout group of our village. I learned what you have learned and on top of that we had to help our farmer in spring and fall where ever help was needed.

    So I know a bit a your sayings and I have fully agree with you and Rose.

    If young people from the city would have made such an experience from the country they would appreciate life of the nature much, much more.

  4. tania

    Waylander, I still walk many of the walks that I did as a child. I can say now that the local authorities are about to build on more green land here, so cutting down on the greenery. Like you my daughter follows the interests in nature ect. that I do, my son has no interest at all. But having said that where do the children play? no hopscotch, skipping, marbles ect. as children we walked the lanes quite safely but today things are just not safe anymore. I have actually met children from the city who do not even know what certain animals look like in real life and I find that very sad.

  5. watergypsy87

    I have had a similar country upbringing myself Way.Our countryside is disappearing and even Nature Reserves have play areas and cafes.
    It is becoming harder to find the countryside where we had it on our doorsteps.
    You have to learn the countryside to really appreciate it ,the listening, watching and pure love of your surroundings.
    Like you I have tried to teach my children and grandchildren the quietness, and pleasure of the outdoors .
    I am afraid that the play we experienced has long gone in this fast moving hectic more modern way of life.
    Thank you for this thought provoking blog and it brought back very happy memories of the time spent with my Grandfather a real old country man.(poacher ….I am afraid to say)

  6. cropduster

    Today the house size barely fits on the land. No backyard cricket, or Tarzan swing from a tyre tied to a bough. It’s all Tablets n X Boxes, sad!