I wish I could be magically transported to my childhood and adolescent years, for these were the years where I was carefree and had fewer responsibilities. My memories of my childhood are rich and plentiful. They could be painted on a million tapestries and hung across my home.
I grew up as a child in the 1980s, and things were very different then. We sometimes say our children do not appreciate the additional commodities and conveniences they have now. I did not grow up with cell phones, iPads, kindles, and the endless number of video game consoles.
Outside Play for Days
Times have changed from my days as a 10 or 12-year-old. I remember spending hours outside on the street, playing with other kids from the neighborhood. Snack or bathroom breaks were as simple as just popping inside a fellow friend or classmate’s house. The street was also loaded with bikes, scooters, and sidewalk chalk. We were allowed to roam the neighborhood. It was normal not to check in with parents for a couple of hours.
My mom would say, “Go outside and play, and make sure you come back inside as soon as it starts getting dark.” Dinner was occasionally skipped, too, as all us kids would want to do was play outside.
There were no cell phones, not many TV options, and video games had to be earned to be played. Because of the endless texting on cell phones, cable TV, Zoom options, we find ourselves not spending as much time together in person.
As many of you may recall, we physically went into a movie rental storefront to check out a movie. My friends and I would be dropped off so we could pick out a movie together to share over candy and popcorn on most Saturday evenings. The best part was you could pick up a movie, look at the pictures of scenes on the back and read the description. Of course, the movie had to be parent-approved.
A blast from the past reminder, do not forget to rewind. Remember how you would get a fee charged if you did not rewind your movie on return? Our VHS rewinder sat right next to the VCR.
Now, children can go on Netflix or Amazon to download a movie. And this isn’t such a special experience for them. But finding ways to create this as family time together can be a bonus movie night together.
The cassette tapes. I would spend hours listening to the radio, waiting. Waiting for that perfect song to play so that I could hit “record” and put together my mix tape. My friends and I would share our tapes. And using a pencil to rewind the cassette tape was completely normal. You definitely knew a boy/girl really liked you when they made a mix tape for you as it takes hours to make!
Cassettes seem to be a thing of the past, and even CDs are somewhat fading out. Playing music on cell phones and other devices by downloading through various music apps is the new normal for our children.
My kids know the radio well. I still enjoy playing the radio each time we get in the car. I feel I am exposing them to a variety of genres of music. They are learning it is normal to listen to the talk show hosts, hear various announcements, and wait patiently during commercial breaks between songs.
But as my children approach their teenage years, finding any song they want to listen to will be able to be played on their cell phones instantaneously.
The World Continues to Change
It would be interesting to have my children trade places with me and transport them back to my tapestry of memories as a child. My conversations continue with my grandmother and my mother. The chat will usually begin with, “Back in my day, we used to do this…” If I blink an eye, technology is advancing faster than I can keep up with. Luckily, my children are growing up with the skills to teach me a broader understanding and adaption to the current trends.