I realize I need to apologize to my husband.....We were lying in bed this morning discussing whether the time change would affect when the newspaper would be delivered this morning--would the deliverer have to get up an hour earlier to get the paper here by the required 7:00 a.m.?
This led to talking about the paper route he had as a boy south of Chicago from 1955 to 1964. He was 9 when he started and his brother was 11. They shared the 168-customer route for two years, having to get up at 4:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings to roll the papers and then start delivering by 5:00 a.m. on their bicycles, in the dark, in the cold Chicago snow-covered streets. By the time he was 11 his brother had gone off to boarding school and the route was left to do by himself. No wonder he doesn't like to walk down our steep 300-foot driveway to get our paper when it's cold and dark! My apology is for giving you a hard time, Dear, for those times you've driven down to the street to get the paper.
It is hard to imagine there was a time when allowing a 9-year-old to be outside that time of night under those circumstances was considered OK and not child-neglect. Times have changed. We've come a long way as a society in caring for our children. But at the same time we may have gone overboard in protecting them from real life. Parents have the hard task of weighing the pros and cons of certain activities they will allow their children to participate in. We did not encourage our boys to get jobs while still in high school. When one of them asked to work a few hours a week we allowed it with the condition it wouldn't interfere with his education or our family time. I know of some families where between extra curricular activities, part-time jobs, school, and social activities, the "family" is non-existent! Peer pressure makes it difficult to go against the tide and take a stand--but it must be done if the family is to survive. Our three sons all live in the same area an hour's drive from us. They will get together on their own from time to time and all come home for birthday celebrations and major holidays. I have to think it's because of the importance we put on family life when they were growing up.
Father, thank you for helping us take a stand and draw the necessary lines to keep our family intact. It is a blessing not only to us, but to society when families stay together.
Link to scripture: http://bible.cc/ephesians/6-4.htm
Take action: Child Advocacy