MUCH OF the inspiration for this website comes from my own happy childhood. Here is a photo of me from my days as a scheming, plundering, lawless barbarian. Not long after I became a mother 22 years ago, I made an unsettling discovery. Childhood is fast disappearing. It is not the same cultural institution it was when I was young. For one, it is not conducive to the sort of reckless abandon, the freedom from constraints within the confines of unwavering structure, that I knew. Travel along the streets near my home, and you will see. There are no children outside playing. I spent hours outside, a suburban anarchist plotting for the overthrow of boredom, reveling in the scent of boxwood and rotting crab apples, making little puddings and stews from mud and berries. I spent hours playing inside too, endless idle, exhilarating hours as a strict mother forcing vegetables on her dolls or a debutante attending balls or Anne Frank in her bedroom. I even pretended to be a cashier at a grocery store, such was the variety of interesting roles to play. Whatever I did, there were always other children to play with and to be annoyed by, with mothers nearby to disobey or subvert.
Childhood has changed for many reasons, and there are far more serious issues than the lack of time or opportunity for children to play in an unorganized and unregimented fashion. Some of the change has been brought on, as Neil Postman argued, by the sheer force of the technological revolution. The written word has lost its central position as the means of communication. And, with that, there is much less of a clear need for childhood.
Technology has changed our lives. But only a moral revolution can make our world more welcoming to children. Please give to this website so that I may continue to articulate the principles necessary to recapture innocence and the institution of childhood. Childhood has been destroyed by the enemies of all that is good. The goal is nothing short of more scheming, plundering, lawless barbarians. Let anarchy loose upon this sad and beautiful world.