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Plenty of parks … where are the kids?

When I was a kid growing up in Kearny, I remember that getting friends together for a game of basketball or football was an easy thing.
Whether it was sunny and 70 degrees or snow was on the ground, we were always ready to play, and most likely would join a game already in progress.
Where did those days go?
And it’s not like I was a kid back in the 1960’s. I’m currently 22.
I understand why my group of friends doesn’t play; between the need to avoid black eyes, cuts, and miscellaneous injuries while going to work, plus the age factor, but why do I now drive past Manor Park in Kearny or many of the other places I used to frequent and see no games going on?
Older people complain that all children do nowadays is spend time on Facebook, or sit in front of the television screen. But when it comes time to get their own kids involved
in sports and such, these same parents often hold their kids back.
I understand that the dangers are great. I lived in North Philadelphia for four years while attending college. But we can’t shield our kids from every potential hazard. If we do, they’ll never learn to grow in life.
One of the excuses I’ve heard is that the people from outside communities who go to suburban parks make it unsafe for children. I’ve played with those same people. If you had the choice, would you choose a park one of those towns over a park in Kearny? I
don’t think you would.
All I’m saying is this: Be smart by trusting your kids. The more you trust them, the less they’ll have to lie to you about where they’re going.
And for the children, get up and get out! There’s no reason to let a 60-degree weekend in November pass you by.

—Anthony J. Machcinski

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