By Russell W. Peterson |

Some dude blogger and stay at home dad at DadNCharge wants to "Banish The Playdate". He argues it is hampering spontaneous, imagination-filled free play. Hogwash. It is about returning to traditional childhood values where barefoot women stayed at home and never really watched the kids. Men were men, protected the family and went to work. As it should be. Children played unsupervised most of the day. We all had a star spangled youth and grew up just fine.

My dad went to work in the dawn's early light before most of us were up. We didn't usually see him until dinner. Sometimes not even then if there was an emergency incident. Occasionally he would show up on the weekend and pull us around on the lawn tractor perusing his land or take us out for gun shooting practice. The protector/soldier role is best for dads.

I remember my mom's perilous fight with the laundry and mixing up frozen slushies by the gallons for her girlfriends. They never planned anything. They'd just show up, open the freezer and go to town with those cool beverages from the ice cream pail. No need to schedule a play date and select some fancy schmancy wine with the correct stemware. Who needs lunch anyway?

All the while, my friends and I played gallantly. We had a red, white and blue rusty metal swing set that bounced off the ground every time we swung very high catching and cutting our hands on the unprotected metal chains. No protective covering. No bandaids needed. We flew off those swings and landed on the hard dirt ground not that soft rubbery stuff the pansy kids play on nowadays. We scuffed our knees and broke arms. No urgent care. A sturdy, straight stick and some gauze did the trick. That metal slide was brutal on hot days scorching our hands and our behinds. I hit my head on that monkey bar so many times, I’m sure I had more concussions than an NFL player. It is what made us men and why we are supposed to be working and not playing house with the kids.

Once in a while we "had" to play with the girls. They were obsessed with dolls and playing house. We reluctantly assumed the role of father, went off to work and never returned. The tree house fort we escaped to was way too much fun anyway with our bottle rockets and swords. The dozen or so boards we had swiped from the dump across the street made great floors and walls. I'm sure there was no chemical contamination. A few rusty nails pounded into the flimsy tree branches and every building code was properly met. We inspected it ourselves. Eating our white bread salami sandwiches filled with fat and salt on those floor boards built up our immunity. I'm sure of it! The candy cigarettes with real smoke were a plus.

What I'm saying through these illustrations, is that I agree with DadNCharge dude on some level. Banishing the playdate would help us return to these free form, imaginative play times and restore America to her rightful heritage waving the banner of traditional roles. The cry across our parentingdom should be "Land of the play date free and home of the childhood brave!"

*PLEASE NOTE: This post is entirely nonfiction and contains absolutely no sarcasm.



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