Is everything easier today than when I was young? Or is it how the world works now? I remember grandpa telling ushow he used to have to walk up hill both ways. In the snow. At 5am. To go to work before school. How is that possible to go up hill both ways? Have the roads completely changed now? Definitely something is going on because my kids have figured out how to WALK DOWN HILL BOTH WAYS.
We live on a steep hill and my kids ride the bus to school. It didn’t take them very many days to figure out how to work this system to their favor. There is a bus stop about 5 houses up the hill from us and another stop 5 houses down the hill from us. So what do they do? Walk down the hill to catch the bus in the morning and get off the bus at the stop above our home and walk down hill once again to get home. So is their life easier? Is this EASY STREET?
PHONES– When I was young we had one phone in our home. Things were not quite so private back then- I could hear my mom talk about what was happening in the neighborhood. I could answer the phone and ask the girl what her name was before handing the phone to my older brother. Then tease him later. We all knew what was going on in other people’s lives. We had to communicate. The phone in our kitchen had a very long spiral cord. I could pull it tight and make it all the way past the door to the back hall and I would shut the door on the cord. Alone at last to tell my friends all about my secrets so my family wouldn’t hear. Important stuff like who sat by me at lunch.
NOW everyone in our family has their own cell phone. Privacy at it’s finest. The kids can go to their room, shut their door and say anything they want. As parents we have no idea who they are talking to, how long, or what hours. We may have an app that tells us, as parents, all about their kids phones, but then the kids have an app that tell them how to throw off the parents. Is this a game? How do we keep up?
CARS– When I was young we had 2 cars for our family. One for my mom and one for my dad. My bike and roller skates came in very handy because I knew it was up to me to get to and from my friend’s home. This also limited what friends I could hang out with, but this is how most families worked. It was rare for my mom to drive me to a friend’s home.
NOW our kids each have a car to jump into and if they remember to text us, they tell us where they have gone. Certainly there is no limit to how far they drive to get to their friend’s home. This is a normal conversation, “Why don’t you walk or ride your skateboard since your friend lives around the corner? She replies, “Why would I do that?” Me, “For exercise and fun! “Then I hear a, “No thanks! That’s not fun.”
COMPUTERS– We didn’t have a computer in our home until I was in high school. This meant many days in the library looking up information for reports in the encyclopedia.My mom was my google. I would call her and ask her where to stay while on vacation in Anaheim. I would ask her what store had the best price on groceries for the week. My dad was my science computer-why do things work like this? My paper dictionary or thesaurus was the best way to help me write an english paper.
NOW our kids have a computer in their hand. Luckily Steve Jobs had this dream swirling in his head for years and made it happen. Genius’ created Google and Travelocity and Amazon and on and on. All of us benefit from their curiosity and drive to make things happen.
SPORTS- My mom would sign me up for all kinds of fun classes in the summer. I learned how to hula dance, make jewelry out of rocks, gymnastics and volleyball. Kids didn’t specialize in a sport- we could play them all. And you didn’t have to be the best- you just showed up and had fun.
Now my kids specialize in one thing. I put them in every class possible between the ages of 3-7 and then they have to choose which thing they like the best- so you can become the best. Getting individual coaches and playing year-round is the norm. Oh and what if they change their mind when they are 13- oops, too bad, you can pay to play but you certainly won’t be getting a scholarship in this. Kids are really advanced and so is the equipment.
MUSIC– The good old days were filled with trying to get the DJ to answer the phone at the radio station so we could beg him to play our favorite song. OR we could go to the store and buy a tape of that album, then try to find the right spot on the tape recorder where our favorite song was.
NOW we have little handheld devices- thanks again to the genius’ that had this vision. Pay $.99 and we can listen to any song ever made, instantly.
JOBS: Dish night at my house growing up was a regular thing.
So it is in our home today, but NOW the kids have come up with ways to make that more efficient as well. How about using the hoverboard to get from the dishwasher to the cupboard with the plates? No reason to walk for 5 minutes while you unload the dishwasher. Or vacuum. Or sweep. Really? They say it is much more fun and how can I argue with that?
TIME: Walking around with nothing to do was how we passed time. I remember laying under my neighbors tree eating green apples with my sister while we found animals in the shape of clouds.
NOW: Do our kids ever have spare time to just walk around the neighborhood? No, mine don’t. My kids have schedules that they follow- go to school, get a quick snack, soccer practice, have dinner, do homework and get to bed. What happened to spare time? But who is creating this schedule? Me. I am teaching my kids how to be an adult wayyy too soon. There certainly isn’t time to be a kid anymore.
So, is everything easier today than when I was young? Certainly, the world today has a lot of things I am grateful for that make my life easier and more convenient. Fast food- we didn’t do that when I was growing up. Everything is much more efficient, but it is a fast-paced world. So physically yes, it may be easier, but emotionally- I don’t think so. We have forgotten how important it is to play and rest. Science has now proven that PLAY is as important as sleep.I have decided that as a parent I need to lighten up on the schedule. Let my kids have what I had- time to create, think, rest, or just be. AND why not walk downhill both ways?