09 January, 2014

We Live In a Different Age, For Sure

I don't have to tell anyone that things are vastly different today than what they were when I was growing up. I hate to say it, but we are raising a soft and lazy generation. I don't think it is entirely the fault of the kids, because we've helped make them that way. We've given them 24 our a day television with hundreds of channels. We've given them video games and computers and every excuse imaginable to veg out in their homes. I was talking with a teenager about this yesterday and they said to me, "you're just jealous because you never had it so good." As I told that person, the truth is, I feel sorry for them, because they have no idea what they are missing out on. They asked me to explain just what they missed out on. My response? "You've missed out on living!"  I meant that. Kids today really don't know what living is. Let me illustrate.

What prompted our discussion was that I had been asking numerous kids ranging from junior high age into college age what they had done over Christmas break. Overwhelmingly the responses where, 1) sleep, 2) watch TV, 3) Play video games, and 4) text my friends. There was a couple of exceptions, but easily 95% of the kids gave me a variation of these answers. One after another the boasted of how they had slept in every day till 11:00, 12:00 or 1:00. One told me they slept until around 3:00 every day. (I think that's called depression!)  Seriously... these kids think this is "having fun" and enjoying life. I began telling the young man that I was talking to how that when we were kids we lived in what would seem to be an alternative world to what they know. Sleeping in meant we slept until 7:00. We were in too much of a hurry to get started with the adventures of the day to waste time laying in bed. Snow was not a reason to hibernate... it was what we lived for back then! When it snowed we got up in the morning, wolfed down breakfast and grabbed our sleds and headed to the park for hours of sledding. Afterward we retreated to our homes, hung up our wet clothes, changed into another set and headed out to play football in the snow. We'd play for hours every day. When we finished playing football, we changed into dry clothes and headed back out and we'd sometimes spend days building our "snow forts" in our yards or in the park. We divided into armies and built strategic forts all over the neighborhood where we could maneuver to try to pin down our "enemy" when the battle began. We pre-made hundreds of snow balls and hid them all over the place and then when we were all finished, the war was on and we'd have the most massive snowball fights you have ever seen. The preparation for the snowball fight was half the fun. We'd help one another build our forts in our yards, and every now and then sneak in and attack our enemy while they were building theirs and try to destroy their fort. Afterward we usually had to go home and eat, but after supper we headed back out to the park for some night sledding. We made the most of every day... every moment of our Christmas break! Sleep? TV? Not a chance. And stay inside? Are you kidding me? There were only two reasons why you ever stayed inside: 1) You were sick, or 2) You were being punished! Can you imagine that? It was punishment to be made to stay inside.

He accused me of being jealous because we never had it so good back in the 60's and 70's. Son... those were the times of my life and memories were made that replay in my mind some 40 years later. What are your memories going to be? I really hope that some of you will discover before it is too late that you have no clue what living is. 

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