|Having fun at Marina Paraiso|
No, I don’t mean the sandy streets or the quaint little stores scattered around centro on Isla Mujeres, I am talking about your memories of being a child, growing up in Canada or perhaps the United States.
You played all weekend with your friends - cowboys and Indians (yes, it was okay to say Indians then), scrub baseball, street soccer - and all you had to do was to come home when your dad whistled, or the street lights came on.
|Softball on the beach - team sharing mitts (in the air)|
You struggled home, dirty, tired, scraped, bruised and completely laughed-out. As you got older you ventured further afield, on your bicycle exploring nearby neighbourhoods or in our case the next town. No helicopter-parenting here. You just knew you had to be home for dinner or you were in big trouble. That was what it was like for me and my siblings when we were kids – a few years back – okay, many many years ago.
So, where am I going with this? Here on Isla Mujeres, it is like stepping back in time. Kids are allowed to be kids. No safety helmets or tracking devices, no daily schedule of planned activities, just day to day adventures.
|Fooling around by their families' boats|
We were in the local grocery store the other day when two young sisters, about six and four, came in holding hands. They were on an errand for their mom. The girls made their purchase and headed home, about a block away from the store.
We remember doing errands like that for our moms. How very simple.
But, back in the USA or Canada the parents can be sentenced or fined under the Child Abandonment statutes for letting their little kids walk to the store alone.
|Some of our favourite local kids fishing - a few years ago|
We think the island teenagers grow up to be more self-sufficient and responsible being allowed more freedom to make their own decisions. We get to see a lot of them as we live near the high school. Yes, they all have their status-symbol smart phones but they still flirt, and giggle (the boys) and shriek (the girls). They talk, joke, and interact with each other much more than their northern counter-parts. The Mexican culture seems to encourage this type of communication and we think it’s great. At their homes the local kids are like any other kid, perhaps a little more respectful of their parents, but if Grandma tells you to do something you had better do it. It’s the norm for grandparents to live with the family and help out with child-rearing.
|Dancing to her own beat.|
My grandparents lived with us when we were kids. It was frustrating at times, but now that I look back and remember what they taught us about manners, family history and good judgement – it was worth the frustration.
So, if you miss the good old days of being a kid without worries, come to paradise, on Isla Mujeres.
No matter what your age, you can still be a kid here.
Cheers from paradise!
Lawrie & Lynda
|Pretending to drive - M. Watt photo|
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