We’re becoming a nation of sissies
|Image: All Rights Reserved|
|New York : Scribner|
Lots of other kids lived in our neighborhood, which was known as the Tracks, and after school we all played together. We played red-light-green-light, tag, football, Red Rover, or nameless games that involved running hard, keeping up with the pack, and not crying if you fell down. All the families who lived around the Tracks were tight on cash. Some were tighter than others, but all of us kids were scrawny and sunburned and wore faded shorts and raggedy shirts and sneakers with holes or no shoes at all.
What was most important to us was who ran the fastest and whose daddy wasn’t a wimp. My dad was not only not a wimp, he came out to play with the gang, running alongside us, tossing us up in the air, and wrestling against the entire pack without getting hurt. Kids from the Tracks came knocking at the door, and when I answered, they asked, ‘Can your dad come out and play?’
Lori, Brian, and I, and even Maureen, could go pretty much anywhere and do just about anything we wanted. Mom believed that children shouldn’t be burdened with a lot of rules and restrictions. Dad whipped us with his belt, but never out of anger, and only if we back-talked or disobeyed a direct order, which was rare. The only rule was that we had to come home when the street-lights went on. ‘And use your common sense,’ Mom said. She felt it was good for kids to do what they wanted because they learned a lot from their mistakes. Mom was not one of those fussy mothers who got upset when you came home dirty or played in the mud or fell and cut yourself. She said people should get things like that out of their systems when they were young. Once an old nail ripped my thigh while I was climbing over a fence at my friend Carla’s house. Carla’s mother thought I should go to the hospital for stitches and a tetanus shot. ‘Nothing but a minor flesh wound,’ Mom declared after studying the deep gash. ‘People these days run to the hospital every time they skin their knees,’ she added. ‘We’re becoming a nation of sissies.’ With that, she sent me back out to play.
Extract from the book The glass castle : a memoir
by Jeannette Walls
All Rights Reserved.
New York : Scribner, 2006, c2005.
Call Number: English 362.82092 WAL
Extract contributed by Lim Lee Lian
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Can children be brought up without strict rules and regulations?