Day 138 of 366: Blog Challenge 2012

Hello all

I discovered that here in Australia it is National Walk Safely to School Day today. Not that I heard anything on the radio, I marked it weeks ago and today it just jumped out of the calendar “at me.”

I know when I marked it, I did wonder what it was all about and did a little research on the subject of kids walking to school. It made me think  back to my own walking to school every day (without any adults) and wondered what the big deal was about?

But, I told myself, the world has indeed changed. Hasn’t it? Well, we are told that it has but this has led me to ponder on a few things. It does appear that with approximately 60% of children today being driven to school, and consequently getting little exercise, walking is no longer the norm. The Walk Safely Day promotes reduced car-dependency thus cleaner air in our polluted world.

I bet there are a lot of mothers out there that would love to ditch the idea of driving their children to school and would love nothing better than to let them walk but … here’s the catch. Do you think a lot of mothers are now in fear of their children being attacked or snatched by a sex offender of some sort if they do let them walk any distance to school?

Are things really worse than they were in my own uncomplicated childhood during the 1950s? I remember vividly two incidents where a man in a car stopped and asked me for local directions. Upon telling him, he suggested that I get in the car and show him the street!

Well, I was out of there so fast it wasn’t funny … on both occasions!  The teachers at the school had warned us of such a thing and told us what we should do in case it did happen. There were often warnings too from Police that certain “strange men” were loitering around near the school, so we were told to walk a different way.

Do any of these things happen to our children today? I don’t remember my children being warned in such a way during the 1980’s. I do however, remember telling my young son to be careful around football coaches when he was playing football. I gave him instructions on what to do if certain occasions arose. He got quite cranky with me over this saying “Mum, you’re over the top!” Well, so be it my dear boy …

Well, it turns out I most certainly was NOT over the top! Today, we both laugh about it but he can see now as a father himself why I was issuing such warnings. I always thought that to be forewarned was to be forearmed. Luckily, he never needed to use any of the tactics at any time!

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Anyway, the walking safely to school is not only about being safe, it is also about being active and healthy. Kids can also ride their bicycles too or even catch a bus if they are used to being driven. I l have decided that I love the idea. Let’s do whatever it takes to get our children moving and feeling empowered.

I will leave you with this quote from Prince Charles which I found on the Walking Safely to School website which I thought was worth giving you:

“The whole of the 20th century has always put the car at the centre. So by putting the pedestrian first, you create these liveable places I think, with more attraction and interest and character … liveability.”

I like that idea, don’t you? Perhaps we will see a lot of changes during the 21st Century but unfortunately, at my age (ha ha old dear that I am) I can only hope I will live long enough to see exactly what will change. Not that I am planning on departing anytime soon!

However, I would like to remain positive and believe that there are plenty of good things ahead with regard to community living and safety – not just for the children – but for all of us.

Oh, by the way, the National Walk Safely to School Day is now in its 13th year and it is promoted by the Pedestrian Council of Australia.  It is a Community Event seeking to promote Road Safety, Health, Public Transport and the Environment.  http://www.walk.com.au/wstsd01/page.asp?PageID=260

Until tomorrow …

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