Who’s afraid of the great outdoors?

At age 59 I’m discovering what makes people become reactionaries as they grow older. You see cultural change and miss the culture of your youth.  Today I’ll talk about the outdoors, which seems to be gradually receding in importance.

When I was in high school I used to take off Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to going biking in the countryside.  When I reached my 30s I began to hear stories of students doing extracurricular activities just to get into good colleges.  It seemed like the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard of.  Free time was for play.  In 1972 we were actually told NOT to study for the SATs.  Even 8 years ago I used to go on long walks in the late afternoon, looking at the wonderful residential architecture in Newton.  Now I spend almost all of my time indoors, in front of the computer.  I wonder if this is increasingly true of society as a whole.

When I was young I viewed my (boomer) generation as much healthier than my parents’ generation.  Middle age people had no interest in biking, jogging, health foods, etc.  And yet it was our generation that became obese, not them.  I recently did a post on a tropical paradise that no one wanted to move to.  Back in the 1960s and 1970s there was a real back to nature movement, where hippies idealized a cabin in the woods.  Now it’s back to the inner cities.

Tyler just linked to an article about the rapid decline in golf:

The game — with its drivers, clubs, shoes and tee times — is expensive both to prepare for and to play. It’s difficult, dissuading amateurs from giving it a swing, and time-consuming, limiting how much fans can play. Even what loyalists would say are strengths — its simplicity, its traditionalism — can seem overly austere in an age of fitness classes, extreme races and iPhone games.

Graph the rise of the iPhone against the decline of golf.  I know this is going to sound strange, but I found the following bit in The Economist to be incredibly depressing, one of the saddest things I’ve read in years:

But overall, a pastime dominated by older, white, rural men is on the wrong side of demographic forces upending so many aspects of American life, from pop culture to politics. And it is not just grey hair that worries those in charge of the sport.

Wisconsin, a hunting-mad corner of the Midwest, makes a good case study. Wildlife officials there joke that folk in their state revere God, the Green Bay Packers football team and deer-hunting, and not necessarily in that order. At the peak of the season, on the weekend before Thanksgiving, 100,000 white-tailed deer may be killed in Wisconsin’s woods. The state offers ponds thick with duck, soft southern dairylands full of game, and””in the north””wilder woods where bear and wolves prowl.

Yet even in Wisconsin there has been a 10% drop in licences to hunt deer with guns since numbers peaked in 2000. Worse is to come. A recent state-sponsored demographic analysis predicts a 27% fall in gun-licence sales over the next 20 years.

The trend that most troubles Wisconsin officials is a sharp loss of interest among middle-aged, male deer-hunters. They used to be the bedrock of hunting, recruiting their children into the sport and heading into the woods for an annual “deer camp” in autumn: they would meet up with fathers, brothers and cousins for a week of shooting, beer-drinking, card-games and tall tales round the campfire. In 2012 the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) commissioned an academic study of Wisconsin hunters who had stopped buying gun licences, involving thousands of questionnaires and multiple focus groups. Behind its unpromising title”””Why fewer middle-aged gun-deer hunters bought licences in 2010 and 2011″””lurks a novella’s worth of familial angst and male soul-searching.

A divorced father sees his children every other weekend: he is not about to park them with a babysitter just to go hunting. The economic and social power of wives is much discussed: the days are gone when men could head to the woods for a week without a qualm, confident in their supreme authority as breadwinners. The anonymous quotes ring with hurt, guilt and bafflement: the sound of men struggling with a world that has turned maddeningly complex and touchy-feely. Hunters describe Chekhovian family rows””pitting young against old, insiders against newly arrived in-laws””over who got to shoot which deer, one mournfully reporting that at the end, “The ladies all hollered at me.”

I grew up in Wisconsin and recall many very thoughtful, kind, highly intelligent deer hunters.  And yet it’s clear to me that history is written by the winners, and that hunters will lose in the end.  The urban sophisticates will mischaracterize them as drunken yahoos.  Even worse, the state I remember growing up in is gradually disappearing.  I used to tell people that Wisconsin schools NEVER close due to cold or snow, and that we’d walk 2 miles to school in 20 below zero weather (28 below C).  But now I’m told even Wisconsin occasionally closes it schools.  People used to be very friendly—since Scott Walker people stopped have talking to their neighbors.

Notice that one factor in the decline in hunting is that dads need to be with the kids. What happened to kids playing on their own, as we did?  This is what happened:

A slim majority of Americans, 53 percent, say it is okay for 12-year-old children to play at a public park without adult supervision. Women are 12 points more likely than men to say 12-year-olds should be supervised at public parks. And majorities of households with incomes less than $30,000 a year (56 percent) and Americans with a high school education or less (52 percent) think government should require 12-year-olds to be under supervision. In contrast, nearly seven in 10 of those making more than $90,000 a year, and 67 percent of college graduates say supervision isn’t necessary.

I’m not sure which is more mindboggling, that 47% of parents think 12 year old kids shouldn’t be able to play in a park without adults, or that the “helicopter parent” phenomenon is most prevalent among low income people.  By the way, 68% think it should be illegal for 9 year olds play in a public park without adult.  Who are these people?  I’ve meet a couple families from Europe that just roll their eyes at American attitudes toward children being left alone.

[As an aside, I’ll bet that poll questions of “should people do X” and “should people be legally allowed to do X” would generate very similar numbers for a wide range of issues, even though the questions are radically different.  That’s one reason I don’t trust public opinion polls.]

Where I live in Newton I see almost no children out playing, but they do all have smart phones.  My daughter’s relationship with the outdoors is so different from what mine was that she might as well be growing on a different planet.  Just to be clear, I’ve always believed it’s up to the young to run the planet as they wish, and that the older generation should step aside and let the culture change.  I’m glad the younger generation has embraced things like gay marriage.  I mourn the loss of the old way of interacting with nature, but I don’t want to try to stop change.

One lesson here is that many of the things you hold dear, including moral values, will be rejected by future generations.  Just as the views of older people toward gay marriage now seem neanderthal, the views of young hip urban liberals will seem hopelessly reactionary a century from now.  The lesson is that we should be less condescending toward people with different views.  As a general rule, conservatives look down on people living in different parts of the world, whereas liberals look down on people who lived in the past.  Both are understandable but regrettable forms of bigotry. Just remember that future people might look down on your enjoyment of watching a Redskins football game while eating a bbq pork sandwich just as much as you look down on hunters, and just as much as the hunters I knew looked down on 19th century men who thought that dueling was a respectable way to settle disputes.

Hey, it was their world, not yours.

PS.  I strongly dislike the way that many upper class intellectuals (on both the left and right) tell us what is “wrong” with working class culture.

PPS.  And no, the crime rate was not lower back then.

Update:  After writing this I came across Karl Knausgaard being asked about his children:

Are you optimistic about the world they’re growing up into?

Yeah, I do. There is a German writer who said that every generation has the key to their own time, which I think is true. It’s exciting to just send them out into the future – and then it’s up to them, really.

HT:  Gordon



39 Responses to “Who’s afraid of the great outdoors?”

  1. Gravatar of Market Fiscalist Market Fiscalist
    8. March 2015 at 09:20

    “nearly seven in 10 of those making more than $90,000 a year, and 67 percent of college graduates say supervision isn’t necessary.”

    Maybe they tend to live in neighborhoods where it really is less necessary ?

  2. Gravatar of Patrick R. Sullivan Patrick R. Sullivan
    8. March 2015 at 10:07

    Watch this video and you’ll feel 20 years younger, Scott;


    It’s the 90s again.

  3. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    8. March 2015 at 10:44

    This is a great article on decline of kids roamable domain…


    This is something tech can fix – self-driving cars, drones, cameras and gps can do wonders for child protection.

  4. Gravatar of Derivs Derivs
    8. March 2015 at 11:11

    I play with peoples kids all the time when I am outside of the US. Compliment parents regularly on their cute little kids. Always find it fun to see little kids laugh, no one laughs as happily as a little kid.
    When I am back in the US, kids are like kryptonite, I know not even to look. I think it’s sad.

  5. Gravatar of Tim Duy Tim Duy
    8. March 2015 at 12:16


    Here in Oregon we still encourage our kids to spend as much time in the forest as much as time allows. Out family doesn’t hunt, probably only because I grew up with fishing poles instead of rifles, but we know plenty that do. And the kids’ favorite summer camps are of the outdoor adventure variety. You might like it here.

    That said, my son and his friend spend a grand day in the forest a few weeks ago, but came home covered in poison oak! Transferred to both families before anyone figured out what had happened. But that’s how you learn.


  6. Gravatar of BC BC
    8. March 2015 at 12:49

    I too am surprised that the helicopter parent phenomenon is most prevalent among low income parents. I had always associated helicopter parenting with upper middle income elites trying to optimize their childrens’ lives. I guess I am going to have to update my mental model of 21st century American anthropology.

  7. Gravatar of Browsing Catharsis – 03.09.15 | Increasing Marginal Utility Browsing Catharsis – 03.09.15 | Increasing Marginal Utility
    8. March 2015 at 13:52

    […] “Who’s Afraid of the Great Outdoors?” by Scott Sumner. I don’t know, the exact people flocking back to inner cities also make you feel about not going outside. The simple reason for someone like me is economic – I prefer to fiddle around with my iPhone in my apartment instead of taking a hike in nature and getting stung by a hornet with probability p. […]

  8. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. March 2015 at 14:10

    Tim, Thanks for the comment—I loved Oregon when I visited a few years ago. Reminds me of Wisconsin, except far more beautiful scenery.

    Derivs, I tried to scold someone else’s annoying kid a few years ago . . . I’ll never do that again.

  9. Gravatar of Gordon Gordon
    8. March 2015 at 14:14

    I suspect that the low income parents concerned about their children’s safety are concerned about their own safety as well. Isn’t the crime rate inversely correlated to a community’s income level? For example, people in low income neighborhoods often pay a higher cost for groceries because of the security costs the grocery stores face in such neighborhoods.

  10. Gravatar of A A
    8. March 2015 at 14:59

    The process of lowering social status is prone to manufactured confirmation bias. I’m old enough to remember when most people thought homosexuals were flamboyant, as a rule. No one in my circle wondered whether social pressures inhibited all but the most assertive personalities.

  11. Gravatar of Simon Turkel Simon Turkel
    8. March 2015 at 15:14

    Remarkable note. Much to consider. I’m one of those back-to-the-inner-city people. Raised in the suburbs in the 70s, surrounded by people who fled the city (New York) during its decline. My cohort came back to the city because we experienced dullness in the suburbs. Old story. Thank you for your wonderful blog.

  12. Gravatar of Rajat Rajat
    8. March 2015 at 15:22

    It seems people have fewer kids these days and as a result kids seem to be placed on a pedestal more than a couple of generations back. Quite a few middle-class parents of immediately post-war baby boomers seemed to lose a kid in random accidents but as the kid was one of four or five, it was – apparently – less devastating than it is/would be now.

  13. Gravatar of benjamin cole benjamin cole
    8. March 2015 at 15:23

    And worse, the No. 1 specatator sport of a few decades back has disappeared off the young person’s map. Thoroughbred horse racing.
    Young punks know nothing!
    Curiously enough horses are still big in Great Britain and huge in….Japan.

  14. Gravatar of Nick Rowe Nick Rowe
    8. March 2015 at 15:50

    It all makes me feel sad too Scott.

    Our ancestors were hunters (and gatherers and farmers) for very many generations. There’s no way it isn’t engrained in our dna, in some way. For men especially I think there’s a need to hunt, or something similar.

    I would guess it’s much worse for the natives.

    Father took me rabbit shooting (mostly for pest control but we ate them too) as soon as I could hold a gun. I had to use a 22 rifle, until I was big enough to manage a 12 gauge. That’s what farmers’ sons did.

    On the brighter side, my (adult) daughter biked and camped right across Wisconsin from Winnipeg to Chicago last Summer, had a lovely time, and thought the people were great.

    My own escape is canoeing. Nothing very ambitious, because I don’t have the skills, but very occasionally I like to disappear for 4 days completely solo, because there’s a lovely edge to being reliant only on yourself to stay out of trouble. No accursed GPS, just paper map and compass, and no cellphone (which won’t work anyway).

    Or sometimes just walking in the woods, navigating by dead reckoning and the sun, off the trails.

    Two boys went missing at the village school, when we were about 10. (They had run away because of some minor misdemeanor.) The teacher picked 4 of us more responsible boys, and told us to walk around the fields trying to find them. We walked for miles. (We didn’t find them, because they came home by themselves.) My mother (who was very nervous about me riding my bike in any sort of traffic) wasn’t upset at all when I told her. We were country boys, and were quite at home walking around the fields. I can’t imagine that nowadays.

    Cities are unnatural things. Many people have never seen the Milky Way, or even moon-shadows. Our ancestors would not believe how ignorant we are of things they took for granted.

    We need more reactionaries.

  15. Gravatar of Jon Jon
    8. March 2015 at 16:20


    The under 30K are worried about their kids going off and joining a gang. They see the gangs around and blame the other parents for letting their kids go off by themselves and join a gang.


  16. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. March 2015 at 16:40

    Everyone, Thanks for all the comments, lots of good ones–don’t have much to add.

    Nick, I’ve got to get up to Canada to meet you someday—if I do I promise not to bring up “medium of account.”

    I grew up in a city (Madison) but lived close to a “wilderness” area, so I felt like I was was connected with nature. But we were a bit in awe of all the wilderness you guys have up in Canada.

    If you missed it, also read Tim Duy’s nice comment above.

  17. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    8. March 2015 at 17:20

    “Let me tell you what that was about, we the Rockefeller’s funded that, we funded women’s lib, we’re the one’s who got all of the newspapers and television – the Rockefeller Foundation. There are two primary reasons why the elite bankrolled women’s lib, one because before women’s lib the bankers couldn’t tax half the population and two because it allowed them to get children in school at an earlier age, enabling them to be indoctrinated into accepting the state as the primary family, breaking up the traditional family model.” – Nick Rockefeller

    (The CIA bankrolled Ms. Magazine as part of the same agenda of breaking up the traditional family model).

  18. Gravatar of Dan W. Dan W.
    8. March 2015 at 17:44

    Compelling thoughts, Scott.

    I think there are many factors discouraging people from realizing greater enjoyment of the outdoors and the trend has been going the “wrong way” for a long time. The one that I see most for myself and my kids is that technology makes it too convenient to sit at home and entertain oneself. If we really want a scapegoat blame ESPN! For now there is a game on every night and a replay of the games and other commentary all during the day. The need to entertain oneself by hiking or camping or hunting has dramatically declined.

    Another factor is the increase participation in adult recreational sports like running and cycling. People who are leaving their family rooms may not be going to the woods but they are running and cycling in races. In the past twenty years the number of such races and the participation in them has skyrocketed. Kids are also getting involved in more scheduled sports and activities. There is only so much time in each day and time spent watching TV and participating in sports or watching children perform is going to take away from time spent in the outdoors.

    On the one hand this is unfortunate but on the other there is a positive: The great outdoors will remain open and uncrowded for those who really appreciate them.

  19. Gravatar of ChrisA ChrisA
    8. March 2015 at 19:52

    The decline in “real” activies is, as others note above, due to more close substitutes being created in the virtual world, that are competing with the real world activities. Playing real golf takes a bunch of time and effort. Computer golf is much easier to learn, has minimal time and effort to start a game and you can play with your ex-college buddy in China on a frequent basis. Lower cost close substitutes inevitably eat into the market for the real thing. We can expect this to continue, or even accelerate, as technologies like this become more mainstream. http://gizmodo.com/htc-vive-virtual-reality-so-damn-real-that-i-cant-even-1689396093.
    So its only going to get more uncomfortable for us older people, imagine sitting on the underground and people sat down are whipping out these things, and facing a line of blank VR units. Its like something out of a horror film.

  20. Gravatar of Steven Kopits Steven Kopits
    8. March 2015 at 20:04

    Scott –

    We do hunt deer in New Jersey. The difference is that we use our automobiles. NJ drivers kill some 50,000 deer per year, and half of auto accidents involve deer.

    It’s even worse when the deer have been drinking.

  21. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    8. March 2015 at 21:17

    Video: David Beckworth in a new interview with Erin Ade:


  22. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    8. March 2015 at 21:48

    I have a large forested park near where I live.

    If you know where to look, you can find gravestones dating back to the early 1800s, hidden amongst the trees. What looks like wilderness, was actually a family farm dating in the pre-industrial era.

    Elsewhere, there’s a cluster of a couple dozen dilapidated rotting buildings — no, not part of the early farm, but part of a 4-H summer camp that was popular from the 1930s to the early 2000s. Since then, summer camps, at least of the arts and crafts, swimming and horses variety, have become passe.

    Today the park is used mostly by mountain bikers, runners, and hikers. But each century has produced “ruins” of sorts.

    As an interesting aside, apparently there’s a study showing that college applicants who participated in 4-H have significantly LOWER admission rates, even controlling for grades, test scores, and other activities.

  23. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    8. March 2015 at 22:10

    I do wonder what the future will bring.

    Perhaps someday kids who golf will be disadvantaged in college admissions, due to the temporal prejudices of admissions officers.

    But golf courses are prime real estate– they could easily be re-purposed with biking trails, playing fields, picnic and event spots, and perhaps even “adult jungle gyms” designed for fitness rather than play.

    And hunting is necessary for deer control, unless auto accidents are truly the preferred method. Maybe someday hunting will be a vocation, rather than a pastime? Free range venison, collected by professionals using technology and mobile meat packing trucks?

    Perhaps in the future, wilderness will be used like Passages of Malibu, except for technology detox. Or maybe, with the decline of golfing, business deals will happen on mountain summits.

    I’ve also noticed a fair number of father son/daughter stays at AMC huts, to experience the solitude of wilderness, lack of electricity and communication, and complete darkness for stargazing, all without the commitment of a summer camp or a lengthy backpacking outing. This could be of interest to Prof Sumner.

  24. Gravatar of W. Peden W. Peden
    9. March 2015 at 03:31

    That is sad. I was very lucky in that I grew up in an area where it was less than a mile’s walk to the nearest supermarket and 20 minutes drive to the nearest city (which among other things is where Nick Rowe did his undergraduate degree) but it was also possible to walk north for a day over beautiful wilderness without coming across a single human habitation. It didn’t take too much imagination for a young boy and his friends to have a lot of fun outdoors in that kind of environment, surrounded by the remains of Roman & Pictish forts and scenary from “Kidnapped” & “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”.

    On work and play, I fear that in the Anglosphere we may be moving to an Asiatic model of work: long-hours and low hourly productivity. Rarely really at rest and rarely really at work. Ha-Joon Chang once said to me that thought South Koreans worked (and still work) very long hours, these are often unproductive; he was more impressed by the Dutch, who have a very high standard of living on about the lowest hours in Europe. “Work hard, play long” seems to me to be a good approach wherever possible.

    I’m also glad to see the word ‘play’ used by you, Scott. The philosopher John Passmore, in his classic book “The Perfectibility of Man”, noted that there is an important difference between playing and games. Games can be stressful, while play is distinguished in part by a lack of care. Some people seem to become inordinately stressed by activities that should be their leisure time, while others manage to turn even dull and monotonous activities into a kind of play; this latter ability is one of those sources of happiness that isn’t just about material goods.

  25. Gravatar of W. Peden W. Peden
    9. March 2015 at 03:33

    I also think that computers, including computer games, often aren’t a very effective form of relaxation, due to the amount of information that the brain has to deal with. Walking is more effective, and I’ve found in the last few years that taking photos is also very relaxing because it focuses your mind on the moment & the appreciation of your surroundings- the lazy man’s Zen meditation.

  26. Gravatar of W. Peden W. Peden
    9. March 2015 at 03:34

    (If it’s not clear from my comments, I enjoyed this post a lot and found it exceptionally thought-provoking.)

  27. Gravatar of Daniel Daniel
    9. March 2015 at 03:35

    Off-topic – whenever I hear a libertarian complaining about the state monopoly on violence, their ignorance of history becomes obvious


    The alternative to Leviathan isn’t anarcho-capitalist utopia, but bloody tribalism.

  28. Gravatar of W. Peden W. Peden
    9. March 2015 at 03:36

    Nick Rowe,

    “I like to disappear for 4 days completely solo, because there’s a lovely edge to being reliant only on yourself to stay out of trouble. No accursed GPS, just paper map and compass, and no cellphone (which won’t work anyway).

    Or sometimes just walking in the woods, navigating by dead reckoning and the sun, off the trails.”

    Bliss. The mind is like a muscle: muscles don’t grow in the gym, and our minds do a lot of developing when given a bit of rest.

  29. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. March 2015 at 05:50

    Everyone, Lots of great comments. Thanks.

  30. Gravatar of collin collin
    9. March 2015 at 09:36

    Probably some of the biggest changes since 1972 is:

    1) Most families are two income versus single income.
    2) Global job market is a lot more competitive.
    3) Most blue collar wages have fallen since 1970.

    So is it any wonder why helicopter parenting has occurred? Parents have a lot less time to spend on children so they force more on them. And parents know the price of failure in the business world. So they putting that on their kids. (Being a prime Generation Xer it is almost necessary for them to understand technology and live ‘working’ all hours of the day.) My guess the next generation is going to be increased one income family but start going complete “Asian Tiger” on the kids.

    It is fair to remember that just because this appears to be continuing it won’t last forever.

  31. Gravatar of Browsing Catharsis – 03.09.15 | Increasing Marginal Utility Browsing Catharsis – 03.09.15 | Increasing Marginal Utility
    9. March 2015 at 10:20

    […] “Who’s Afraid of the Great Outdoors?” by Scott Sumner. I don’t know, the exact people flocking back to inner cities also make you feel bad about not going outside. The simple reason for someone like me is economic – I prefer to fiddle around with my iPhone in my apartment instead of taking a hike in nature and getting stung by a hornet with probability p. […]

  32. Gravatar of Bob Bob
    9. March 2015 at 15:18

    Every generation has its own problems, leaves a different imprint in the world, and educates their children differently. The same happens across countries. You’ll be hard pressed to find communities of southern Europeans that value hunting in any way, for instance. What you get there is exactly the opposite: Since they all live in cities, and are happy with their safety, it’s more likely to see early teens that go out until the wee hours of the night. Parents don’t spend time with them: They are out drinking too. Why work 24/7, if it’s not going to get you anywhere? Work as long as you have to (which is often a lot more than 40 hours a week), but after that, just be merry and enjoy yourself, as American levels of prosperity are out of your reach in the first place.

    How will the next generation raise their children, when their world has inequality all over the place? The children of the time of Syriza and Podemos will not have much to do with your youth.

  33. Gravatar of Thiago Thiago
    10. March 2015 at 05:40


  34. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. March 2015 at 06:04

    Collin, I don’t think labor markets have changed that much, but perhaps that’s the perception. It seems more like mass insanity to me. But then I guess that’s always true of these swings in culture.

    Bob, The world has less inequality than in previous decades.

  35. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    10. March 2015 at 06:07

    Thiago, I loved that cartoon.

  36. Gravatar of Student Student
    10. March 2015 at 07:24

    Interesting stuff… Some scattered thoughts.

    I have always preferred sports, shooting clays (never been much of a hunter though as I have found it to be quite boring. I could shoot 100 rounds in an hour shooting clays, but hunting I might get 1 or 2 shots off in an entire day, booooringgg), hiking, biking, camping, fishing, kayaking, rafting, boating, mudding, four wheeling, whatever to indoor activities (though I do love playing video games and cards).

    As a result, my kids are outdoor people. Actually, I would say the kids in my neighborhood are pretty active outside in general, but maybe that’s an outlier.

    It seems to me that its the older generation that doesn’t go outside. When I (both with and without the family) go out hiking, on a rafting trip, or camping, its pretty much the 40 and under crowd I see. Maybe thats a function of the activities?

    As a result, I think whats happening is that people are having kids much later in life. By the time people have kids these days, they have gotten to the point they just dont like the outdoors anymore, their to old. Maybe they are to tired or whatever. As a result, their kids never experience how fun it is and tend to do what their parents do… sit in front of their computers or poke away on their iPhones.

    The kids I see when I am out and about tend to be offspring from parents that had their kids younger, like I did. They are the ones camping or fishing or kayaking or whatever.

    Your discussion of letting kids roam is the most interesting. The reason being is that I was a roamer as a kid. I would leave in the morning and many times not return until dinner. Maybe I was off in the woods or maybe I got on my bike and rode all over town with friends.

    What’s weird is that I did all that without a cell phone and yet it makes me uncomfortable to let my kids do that even with a cell. When I was a kid, my friends and I would ride our bikes 10 or more miles to the lake, swim and head back in the evening. Yet, if my kids asked me to ride their bikes 10 miles to swim in some river near by, I would be rather uncomfortable with that. I am not sure why that is the case.

  37. Gravatar of collin collin
    10. March 2015 at 09:03

    Which country did ‘helicopter parenting’ come from? It originally came from Japan in the 1980s although it was called tiger Mom. (FYI I was a true MTV teenager graduating from high school in 1988. We heard all the (exaggerated?) stories of Japanese kids.) So if people are experiencing a more competitive job market then they will teach their kids to focus more on schooling and other activities. (Also with less children couple more time to lavish on their individual children.)

    What has been the biggest driver of the falling job participation? Younger people are staying (avoiding?) low wage/skill jobs to focus more on education.

  38. Gravatar of mikef mikef
    10. March 2015 at 12:25

    As the population increases…it is probably good that young peaple like urban living. I grew up in the country in upstate ny…and my father complained to the town highway department when they paved our road …he worried that it will just lead to more peaple moving out here and more traffic and more mobile homes…etc….ruining the countryside. In large part he was right…the countryside seems divided between those with money and are gentlemen farmers or have horses .. and those living in mobile homes. There are few of the farmers that I grew up with..if the land is tilled it is probably being rented to some large operations growing corn for ethanol or soybeans. In the past when the country was full of farmers they actually had quite an active social life..there where plenty of community activities to be involved in and peaple relied on there neighbors to survive…that is all gone..people drive to/from the urban areas each day between their jobs and to a house in the country in search for a lifestyle that is gone…

    As far as golf..I agree with Twain…I good walk spoiled…when is golfing about enjoying the outdoors..I thought it as about getting a break from the wife and kids..I think hunting is much the same…I have an old colleage that had 8 kids (a bradybunch family)..he loved to bow hunt because spending time in a tree stand was the only time he ever had to himself…it had nothing to do with hunting…

  39. Gravatar of David L David L
    18. March 2015 at 14:46

    John Muir (Who also had a Wisconsin connection.):

    “The mountains are calling and I must go.”

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