Tuesday, May 5, 2009

the art of child leashes- nurture or nature?

the other day i was walking back home listening to red hot chili peppers ('i could have lied') on a rather cloudy yet gloriously beautiful afternoon

upon my path i greeted two young twin boys, running around in circles in their matching plush red rain suits, la-di-da-ing around their mother

the sight was eerily reminiscent of elementary school tether-ball-playing days...the mother was the pole as the two children spastically ricocheted like balls about the pole

now, it wasn't because there was some magnetic force that attracted the kids towards their mother's 5'2" existence...nor was it because the children wanted to be within safe and close proximity ....but alas, these two young, vivacious "tether balls" were attached by child safety harnesses, or in my world, what I like to call: child leashes. 

now, throughout my two decades on this planet, I have grown to witness many-a-strange things, child leashes among one of them, but for some reason it finally hit me- not the kids- they only had a 2 foot radius to work with...

but it hit me- how peculiar and downright inhumane it is to attach your child to a leash. What ever happened to our freedom as children, our freedom to live life as individual and carefree souls not yet smothered by the confines of LIFE?Although I do not necessarily agree with animal leashes, child leashes insinuate that the child is out to get society, with its sharp fangs and detrimental nature. But the pure fact of the matter is that child leashes are only indicative of poor parenting skills.

If you cannot tame an animal because it likes to roam about and cause mayhem, you inevitably leash it. This may be because you cannot understand its animalistic nature, so you simply harness it to maintain some level of superiority and control. For a parent to leash their child, well, this could only mean that the parent is trying to maintain some sort of superiority and sanity because he or she simply cannot control the child's nature. But when has maintaining child obedience ever been a drastic issue- so drastic that there is a need to slap a leash and treat it like an untame animal? One could argue that these leashes are for the child's protection. But if that's the case, do we start caging children, do we tie them to a pole outside while we run errands in produce wharehouses... do we start pouring food in a bowl and pet them as we encourage positive behavior? 

Proponents of these harnesses say there's nothing peculiar about the leashes, but if that's the case, why have said leashes strategically been designed over these past 20 years to include characters and figures such as "Dora the Explorer", "Spiderman", etc- perhaps to lessen the absurdity of it all by countering it with something cute, familiar, appealing, and magical?  

The plain fact of the matter is, that as children, we grow up by experiencing and interacting with things, be it by running and jumping around and finally falling down and getting hurt through which we learn to compose ourselves a bit better, or be it by touching, smelling, eating, licking, slapping, experimenting with the objects and people we see, until we (hopefully) develop a sense of what's right or wrong.

Plain and simply, leashing a child takes the child's freedom away. The freedom to explore, to experiment, to live life without being chained. 

Unfortunately, my amateur ramblings cannot stir about any change, maybe a smirk here and there, the occasional rolling of the eyes, etc. So seeing as child leashes won't cease to exist unless we spearhead a revolutionary movement, then at what age does the leashing stop? 

Does this become another case of the British woman breast feeding her 7+ year old where the parent gets to decide when their child is "old enough" to stop breast feeding, or in this less bizarre case when it's okay to kick the leash? Would it be okay if we saw a 9 year old harnessed child la-di-daing in a plush red rainsuit.....

Let's retain some sense of humanity..some sense of freedom for those chained children.

After all, they'll have the rest of their adult lives to bare the weight of the world across their own shoulders...

granted, this chained experience won't be as magical as the one with Dora the Explorer tethered across their chest....

hasta la pasta. aromaLish.