I don’t want to be one of those people who sit and whine, that things were better when I was young. But I must say, that some things really were. One aspect in particular, was that we knew how to PLAY. Because what is it that has happened? Through all my years as a mother, I have observed, that children no longer know how to play. Every Christmas, we are told to shower our children with toys, by the different shops and toy manufacturers. But as far as I know, and from what I have heard, very few children actually play with the toys that they have received. And the few existing toy-playing children, get bored with the toys they’ve received, in no time. They are all like ADHD children in this respect, no attention span at all.
For a while now, they have shown Astrid Lindgren’s “Emil in Lönneberga” on Swedish television, at 8:30 in the morning. “Gubby”, who is five, noticed and has come to love it. We’ve had to sit and watch it in the afternoon, on my iPad, instead of in the morning, which is right when we leave for pre-school. But question is, why is it shown at that hour? There is only one answer and that is that it is considered a boring program, by today’s children. They are so used to action and instant gratification, that a cozy program where not too much happens, is considered too boring and make them crawl on the walls, not getting stimulated enough. It seems, to draw attention, a program has to contain either a competition or mild violence, action, digital-impossible-to-do-things and stunt tricks.
This creates a very dangerous generation of children. Children always on the look out for trouble and a “high”/kick. One of the places where you notice this, in particular, is the council playgrounds. In my day, that is where we all met up. All of us, who were in the mood for playing. “What are we going to play?” was the start-up phrase, when a few children had arrived. Let’s go and play horses by the trees. Let’s play school. Let’s go over to the building site and see if we find something funny. Let’s build a ‘koja’ (hut, tree-house on the ground). Let’s start a club. We were never short of ideas. We always had something to do. And if the weather was foul, we would go home to someone and play with dolls, play with Barbies, making things. Today, children head to the playgrounds to pick a fight with someone who looks vulnerable, with someone who arrives without back-up. Instead of using the slides, using the swings, they sit and hang on them like sacks of potatoes, just waiting to act, waiting to bully someone, anyone. It’s been like this, all these years that I have been back to Sweden. Johannes was bullied, D. was bullied, noone dared to bully “Dollie”, since she has always had one friend or another with her, “Cookie” was bullied, “Kitty” gets bullied, and “Boo” gets beaten, peed on, kicked, scratched, hair pulled and sand thrown at him. (I wouldn’t dream of letting little “Gubby” go over there, who is so trusting and loving!)
These children need a “high”. They delight in being mean. And they never ever get caught. My children always do the mistake of telling the aggressor, that they are going to go home and fetch mamma, and when I get over there, the culprits of course have gone in to hiding. On occasion when I have heard the screams and have decided to intervene before being summoned, the aggressors stand there with a smirk on their faces and deny that they have done so much as harm a fly. On occasion, they have dragged their parents in to the conversation, and of course, I always understand why the children are bullies, because their parents sure set the example to their children. Some grown ups really should be castrated and not be allowed to raise children. Some parents completely have misunderstood what parenthood is all about. After all, we are supposed to raise law-abiding citizens who know how to get along with the rest of society. We are not supposed to raise hooligans, who sooner or later will do jail time. If you teach your children that it is alright to step on other human beings, that it is alright to cause bodily harm to another person, and that you are the only person who matter in the universe, that it is perfectly swell to be selfish, you are raising a child, who will head for intolerance, selfishness and crime. You are raising a Nazi!
Today, “Cookie” and her visiting friend S., had promised the boys that they would all play rounders (google translate might have this wrong?). I think it categorizes as something similar to softball or baseball. Of course four people is not enough for the game, but you can stand and hit at the ball and run around the field, I suppose. The boys packed a bag with things to put out, to mark the area, where they were supposed to run. But the girls took their time. Half an hour went, and then “Kitty” came back, wondering where they were. Having left “Boo” to look after all the toys. 15 minutes went and then “Boo” came in hysterical, crying and screaming that these bullies had pushed him off the playground climbing scaffold and he showed how his arm had been scraped badly. I had to call on D., to run as fast as he could over to the field, to gather together our things, before they got stolen by the bullies. He left, “Kitty” left, “Boo” left and the two girls. When the two bullies saw big D. coming, one threw himself on his bicycle and disappeared within a second and the other boy ran as fast as he could in another direction. Soon a girl appeared with the bicyclist and “no, he had not pushed “Boo” off the climbing scaffold, it was the other boy!”. D. came home angry as a bee, saying that “Cookie” with company, had joined bicyclist and girl to find the culprit. When they got to his home, he stood with a wide grin, declaring to his mother that he was innocent and she told everyone that HER son had been home all day laying on the sofa. A blatant lie. Question is, WHY does a parent do that? IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LOVE. I’m sorry but it does not. She is teaching her son that it is alright to push another child off a climbing scaffold, a child who was only half his size, and that she will always back him up, whatever crime he commits. She is teaching her son that is alright to lie. She is teaching her son that as long as he is not caught in the act, he will always get away with his crimes.
Sweden is great isn’t it? All these curling parents. So full of guilt because they spend hardly any time at all with their children, always working and fulfilling themselves. But boy, when they do spend time with them, they wipe up all the crap their children have left on the doorstep. And they pat themselves on the back afterwards saying “that at least now my child knows that I love them”. Is it any wonder that soon all Swedish children will have a letter combination diagnosis or something even worse? Is it any wonder that teachers take early retirement or go on extended sick leave for being burned out? Children are supposed to be the future, but I am not so sure I want to live in the sort of future that my country is heading for. The country that the curling parents are creating!