Way Too Organized by Chris Zito

On summer days when we were kids our parents didn’t get too involved in our life:
After breakfast my mom would say, “There’s the door. pal. Be home for lunch.”
After lunch, “There’s the door, pal. Be home for supper.”
After supper, “There’s the door, pal. Be home when the street lights come on.”

Those were our complete set of instructions for the day!

One can only imagine what kids would do (or not do) if we used the same approach today. Gather a large group of kids together now and throw them in your backyard. They wouldn’t know what to do.

“Where’s the coach?”
“Where are my shin guards.”
“Where’s my Ipod Touch?”

We can’t really blame the kids. We the parents have set the parameters.

If there was nothing to do when I was a kid you could just pick up a stick and a whack some other kid with it and see what happened next.
Usually it had something to do with hurling rocks, kicking and screaming, maybe going home with a gash on your head, but it killed an afternoon.

Obviously a gash on the head today would mean a trip to the ER. Not so back in the day.

Take the Tonka truck for instance. Not the plastic-rounded-corner jobs of today. I’m talking about big, sharp, metal weapons with wheels!


I remember falling off my bike in the driveway and landing on a Tonka truck. The smokestack stuck right into my sternum. It was in there so good I
picked that baby up hands free and went screaming into the house!

“MOM! MY TRUCK IS IN ME! LOOK AT MY TRUCK! ITS…IN MEEEEEE!!!!!!”
My mom was on the phone and didn’t want any noise in the house. Come to think of it, she never wanted any noise in the house. And if a kid can’t get a pass for making noise with a Tonka truck sticking out of his chest than you know that is one quiet house.

She yanked out the Tonka truck. “You’re ok. There’s the door, pal. Be home for supper.”

Parenting was simpler then. The best piece of fathering advice I ever got from my dad was, “Keep ’em alive till they’re 25.”
Two down. One to go.

Thanks for reading. Tell your pals.
Chris Zito

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4 Responses

  1. So true. We have a very strict “one activity” rule – none of the kids will ever be signed up for more than one activity at a time. And we’re very lucky to have a big backyard, where they spend tons of time running around playing made-up games and screaming – just like the good ole’ days.

  2. I remember you guys disappearing for hours and hours, coming back with small animals like crayfish in jars. You were always so dirty–it must have been really satisfying.

  3. Our parents must be related – or have gone to the same school of hard knocks. Instead of the tonka truck, I had the good fortune of a TV falling on my head. Not the fancy schmancy, lightweight plasma sets of today. You know – the big honkin’ sets with picture tubes. Mom & dad were worried I’d broken the TV – never mind my skull šŸ™‚

  4. Yep, same for us. We were pretty self sufficient. Even your dog could climb a tree when he wanted, your mom sitting on a glider I think. Those were the days

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