The Lives of Children

Years ago children enjoyed and/or survived summers free of close adult supervision. I did. Reading, staging plays with other kids, bicycle riding, swimming in Lake Michigan. Pretty much, if we told our mothers where we were going (even if we didn't get there), we were free to roam on our own. Here are three stories about what kids are doing this summer.

"Since Memorial Day weekend, about 1,000 women and children have been flown to Tucson from Texas, then driven by bus to Phoenix and dumped unceremoniously, weary and hungry, left to find their families scattered around the nation. Some minors will be housed at a naval base in California, and immigration officials are finding extra aircraft. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been ordered to coordinate efforts to contain the crisis."  NYTimes, June 5, 2014

A NEW YORK TRADITION: The Fresh Air Fund  Each summer The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, provides thousands of New York City children with unforgettable summer experiences that unlock their limitless potential.... Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences in the country to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities."

And something different: "It seemed like a pretty typical summer day for a pretty typical New York City kid, except that when it was time to go home, Futaba and her mother, Keiko, did not ride the subway to Queens, or the bus to the Upper West Side. Instead, they piled into a cab that whizzed them past Macy’s, Times Square and a gaggle of 57th Street souvenir shops to a short-term, luxury rental apartment behind the Plaza hotel. That’s where the Kawakamis, who are Japanese and live in Tokyo, are staying for the rest of the month so that Futaba can experience what many city youngsters take for granted: day camp." NYTimes, July 11.

Compare and Contrast.

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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