We've all heard the words "they're growing up too fast" in regards to America's youth. But what if they're growing up faster because society is no longer allowing them to have the opportunities kids once embraced in their younger years?
The excitement that surrounded playing outside seems to have come and gone. The art of three-way calling has died.
So what's left? Perhaps nothing.
I was scrolling through Facebook last week and noticed more and more people sharing articles about age limits on trick or treating. I have to say... this infuriates me. Some of these articles even go as far as saying kids over the age of 12 that are caught trick or treating could face jail time.
Jail time? Are you kidding me right now?
My last trick or treating experience was in my senior year of high school. I was 17. That's five years over the legal limit in some areas.
One of the things I always looked forward too as a teenager was the one night each year when our parents trusted us enough to walk around, unsupervised, in the dark, wearing some of the most ridiculous outfits. While this may seem not so important, to the districts enforcing these age limits... it has so much more value than you know.
Apart from giving teens an opportunity to be exactly who they want to be for one night with little to no judgment, this one night of the year can be a game changer- not only for the kiddos but also for their parents.
Halloween is a time when even some of the most intense moms and dads loosen the reigns for just one night. While the kids taste a small serving of freedom, the parents start to let up on their kids just a bit after what is (in most cases) a problem free evening. Both of which are important steps in timeline of growing up.
So, grownups probably aren't trying to go out trick or treating but, being able to walk around the neighborhood without a chaperone always gave us that little taste of adulthood we deeply craved.
Some of my favorite Halloween memories took place in my high school years, as I'd make the rounds with friends I'd kept since Pre-K. We'd walk around in our small town in an even smaller neighborhood.
Each year we went to the same houses and the same faces greeted us with smiling faces. Some of those faces being our elementary school teachers, relatives, etc. A motel in the neighborhood always gave out popcorn balls while our favorite houses allowed us to choose from a variety of full-size candy bars.
But what each of our stops had in common was that not one person who opened the door questioned our age. Not one person had a negative comment. Not one person did anything less than smile at us.
The truth is, the people in the neighborhood watched us grow up. For years we'd collect candy in groups with our parents until one year we didn't. The adults passing out the treats seemed to be just as excited as we were the first time we got to go out without our moms and dads trailing behind us.
Why is it that teens in some areas are being robbed of this right of passage? Why is it that we'd be willing to place teens behind bars for doing something truly embodies what it means to be young?
By taking away experiences like this one, we're giving teens the idea that they need to grow up — perhaps prematurely.
Sure technology may be to blame for the majority of this internal race toward adulthood but, are we really helping the cause by banning kids from events that help them remain rooted in their youth?
If that doesn't make you think... perhaps this will. Do we have absolutely nothing better to do than to arrest teens for celebrating Halloween? Aren't there bigger problems for law enforcement to be dealing with?