Friday, December 22, 2006

Childhood, Past and Present

I got this email from my dad, about how kids from prior decades managed to survive so many of the things lawyers and government agencies interfere with in more recent decades. I think being a kid in these more modern times has changed drastically in many ways, as this email shows us.

I am reprinting it here, with photos of places where I used to play as a kid.

the 1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitch- hiking .

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank koolade made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because ... WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING !

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound, CD's or Ipods, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms... WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If YOU are one of them ... CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good .

And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know
how brave (and lucky) their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

- Author Unknown -

About the photos:

Photos 1 and 2 are the backyard of my childhood home, summer and winter. We kids spent many happy hours there year round.

Photo 3 is a grand old Maple tree near our home, that was always very dramatic each fall.

Photo 4 is the last family dog my parents had. She was a Labrador mix named Kizzy, who was rescued from certain death at the dog pound. She was very sweet natured. Here she is at the front door of the house I grew up in.

Kizzy is long gone, as is the house; it was torn down to widen a road. A drive-through ATM stands where our house used to be. The backyard is now a parking lot for the bank. The old Maple tree was declared a safety hazard and cut down; the spot is now the front lawn of the bank.

Change is the one thing in life you can always count on. Sometimes it's for the better, sometimes not. I just wish it was easier for kids now to enjoy some of the simpler things we all took for granted.

Related Link:

10 Days without Windows... The Machine Stops
This is a post of mine from December 2005, that looks at the generation that has grown up with computers.


Anonymous said...

Ah, that brings back memories of simplier times.
Thanks Chas.

Chas said...

Simpler and in many ways easier. Not all modern changes are bad, and some safety changes that have been made are even sensible. But the way that just the THREAT of lawsuits and litigation have reshaped and inhibited our society is to me disturbing. It has squelched creativity, productivity and initiative, and driven up the costs of just about everything. I liked it better when we used to rely more on ourselves and simple common sense and reason.

Instead we have a culture where people initiate lawsuits as a form of gold digging; there are no consequences for people who initiate lawsuits and lose. The insurance companies of those who are sued advise out-of-court settlements, regardless of guilt or innocence, to avoid the greater legal costs of a legal defense. The result is a whole new class of parasites using the legal system to drain and weaken the rest of us, and create more and more restrictions on what we can and cannot do. This MUST change.

Fits said...

Your DAD has email? The kids nowadays cannot believe *I* know how to switch on a pc, let alone send and receive email. If I could but convince my Mom to get wired it'd make communication sooooo much easier, but no dice.

Dionne said...

I've received this email too and I looooooove it. It is sooo true!!

Chas said...

My Dad is in his 70's, and he does pretty well with the computer. I'm in my 40's and have been using computers since they were available, but the kids now learn them at school at a very young age. I've seen five year old's who know how to configure a modem! It makes me feel like a dinosaur.

I remember as a kid, hearing old folks, remembering fondly the old days before TV... and in some cases, before electricity! That's a bit more simple than even I would like.

When kids now hear us romanticize the "old" pre-internet/PC days, they must think we're nuts. I would have loved to have had a PC when I was a kid.

Yet kids seem to be exposed to a lot of adult stuff much sooner than when I was a kid. I don't know if that is because information technology has made that unavoidable, or if it's because society has become so much more unrestrained. I suspect it's due to elements of both. As a result, childhood just ain't what it used to be.