Why Are Kids Not Walking to and from School?

Cold, wet weather has pushed its way into Fort Worth, bringing relief from the unseasonable heat. It makes running more pleasant, or at least less onerous. While running a few minutes ago (just 3.1 miles today), I noticed dozens of vehicles going toward and away from Handley Middle School. This occurs twice a day: morning and afternoon. Why are kids not walking to and from school? One mile is nothing. A middle-school child could cover a mile in twenty minutes, easily. Even two miles is not too far for an eight- to twelve-year-old child, backpack or no.

child-obesity-is-a-huge-problem-in-the-usEvery week we see another report about the skyrocketing rate of obesity in this country. The rate of obesity among children is supposedly higher than among people generally. Do parents care about the health of their children? What better way to exercise their children than to require them to walk to and from school? There are sidewalks throughout the neighborhoods. I’ve heard of no abductions or accidents in the ten years I’ve lived in Fort Worth. Parents need to stop pampering their children. A little rain, cold, or heat never hurt a child. Walking home alone or in the company of other students teaches a child responsibility and discipline. Even if there were no health benefits to walking, which of course there are, it would be a good idea. Among other benefits, it would reduce vehicular traffic, and therefore smog.

Does anyone know why parents are so indulgent? Is it that they themselves are lazy, and can’t imagine walking more than a few feet? (I think here of people who wait ten minutes or more for a parking spot in a shopping center to avoid having to walk an extra fifty feet.) This will mark me as an old fogey, but in my day, we thought nothing of walking five miles to town (and five back) to play a Little League or Pony League baseball game. There’s also this thing called a bicycle. I have no idea why kids don’t ride bikes to school. Okay, that’s my rant for the day. As you were.