Times have certainly changed. Yes, the world is different, but the new generation is so different and it is very apparent simply on the basis of summertime activities. Now, I’m no expert, but I (and hopefully many of you reading this), will get a little bit of an “Ah Ha” moment and maybe, just maybe, try to influence our kids, or nieces and nephews, or cousins….whomever, that belong to this new generation and let them know what they are missing.
I bring these thoughts because I noticed on any given beautiful hot summer day, in most every neighborhood, especially suburbia… There are very few children playing outside. What happened? We can only blame Covid socialization for so much. They are in the house on their phone texting, snapchatting, Instagramming or whatever to find out what is going on with the friend group, commenting and “liking” pictures of OTHER PEOPLE’S experiences.
REMEMBER how it used to be? You found out where the friend group was by the pile of bicycles in someone’s front yard. That’s where they were, and you were expected to show up. We didn’t have iPhones, and chances are we weren’t allowed to use the house landline, (that by the way, was in the kitchen with the 20’ stretched out cord on it because the only privacy you could have possibly gotten was to stretch around the corner into the bathroom). Hell, as kids, we weren’t even allowed in the house most of the time. You needed a drink, you grabbed someone’s garden hose. If you were hungry, you found an apple tree (or someone’s garden). You left the house early in the morning and didn’t come back til dark. Again, different times, different neighborhoods, but we went from one extreme to the total opposite in a very short period of time. A Huffy bike and some type of ball and we were set for the day. Everyone together. Sure, there was always the occasional “tiff” but it didn’t last long and everyone still was together. Dirty, sweaty kids just having the time of their life, never worried or stressed about the world around them. Their entire world was exactly where they were at that moment and the biggest “catastrophe” that could happen was we got yelled at by the old man who’s garden we were using as a regular snack spot. It was fun. It was safe. We looked out for one another. What happened?
Today…. Geez! Stress in these kids is at such a high level that some have a hard time functioning. And play? They don’t know how to just play. “Hang out”? They have no idea. How many countless times have we heard from our parents “go play” or “go find something to do”? And guess what? WE DID, and had a great time doing it. Say those exact words to the younger generation and they look at you like you have 3 heads.
We were, and are, survivors. Born into it, and created by habits of our youth. We were not coddled, our feelings were not evaluated, we did not judge one another, and it didn’t matter what family background you came from, if you were from the neighborhood, you were part of the clan. Girls and boys alike. There was no uncomfortableness, there was no bullying, and certainly there was never any harassment between them… because you would have gotten your ass kicked. And OH MY, our parents didn’t go out of their way to “campaign” to prove if we were right or not. We grew up knowing that the question of being right or wrong didn’t matter, because you shouldn’t have been in that situation to begin with.
I’m not saying everything is wrong. It isn’t, but sometimes when things are not going right, you simply have to get back to the basics. Maybe more conversations at home, maybe taking our kids and some friends out to a park or beach with the only event being a ball, or a frisbee, strategically forcing a gathering we did so naturally when we were teens. You never know, they may just have a bit of fun. And as for us, well…. we didn’t turn out so bad.