My wife and I often go for St. Lawrence river walks near our home in Montreal. Along with the changing seasons, we have begun to notice something new - more and more young boys and girls playing outside without parental supervision. In particular, a boy about nine riding his bike along the river bank and whacking tall grass with his fishing rod - smiling from ear to ear. Yeah! Are we finally coming back to our senses? That danger doesn't actually lurk around every corner for our wee ones.
There is nothing better for a boy to get out and about - either in the city or country. Every book I have read so far on the subject of boys falling behind identifies physical movement and exercise as an absolute necessity for young boys - in many cases a few years ahead of reading skills.
I know I am old school but my mother's yells of "Get outside!" still ring in my ears. Mind you, I had six siblings - all struggling for space. And there were a million kids outside in the 60's. Yet 99.9% of us survived those early unsupervised years even though we fell out of trees, flew off our bikes, broke bones, got hit with baseballs and pucks and ultimately slipped into muddy streams - all part of the fun.
As for our family, every weekend was another outdoor adventure for our two girls and a boy. Camping, biking, swimming you name it. Was it worth it? Well all three are healthy, happy adults with university degrees, careers underway and growing families. None are overweight, have premature diabetes or high blood pressure. And most important, they have taken their outdoor physical activity to an even higher plane - now with their kids in tow.
Remember what my mother said. And give your boy a chance. Outside.