“What is the biggest difference between your life as a child and your kids’ lives now growing up?”
January 4th, 2011
I think this is one of those ironic questions. I mean when I think about my life as a child, and then looks at my daughters’ lives now- everything seems different, and yet, everything seems the same too. The most obvious difference between our childhoods would definitely be the advancement of technology. I don’t even know if there were computers when I was 3 and 5, and if there were, they certainly weren’t in people’s homes to be played with. I don’t remember ever having any sort of contact with a computer until I was in 5th grade (so about 10 years old), now my girls daily play with our computers (much to my husband Anthony’s dismay). Of course, along with the whole computer thing comes the internet as well. I think I was probably a junior in high school before I even started playing around on the internet and using things like instant messenger, and now, the whole world is on the internet, and it is almost an unavoidable part of daily life. My girls know how to get on the internet, go to the favorites and pull up the websites that my husband and I allow them to play on. They know how to work iPhones, and CD players, and mp3 players without really giving it much thought. It is a definite that technology will certainly play a much larger part of my girls’ lives growing up than it did in mine. They won’t pass notes in the hallway, they will text. They won’t have pen pals, they will email or skype. They won’t lug around huge photo albums (like their mama did) to school each week to display new photos, they will upload them to facebook (or something similar). They won’t wait around sitting by the radio waiting for their favorite song to come on so they could record it onto a tape (they don’t even know what tapes are, and have never seen one to my knowledge)- they will purchase it from iTunes or Amazon and listen to it instantly on their little mp3 players. There is no doubt that technology has made life so much simpler, but not necessarily safer. I do, in fact, dread to think about what my girls will be facing once they get to middle and high school.
However, I did say that everything seems to be the same, too, between our lives growing up. What I mean is that, every single day, at some point, my daughters use imaginative play. This means, no TV, no computer, no hand held video games or learning systems, just them and their little imaginations. Or, I should say BIG imaginations, because even I am impressed sometimes at what they come up with! I see myself in my daughters, especially Eden, when they start using their imaginations. I was VERY much a “make believer” when I was growing up. My absolute favorite things to play were restaurant and school. I would play these things for hours, by myself (as I grew up with a brother who wasn’t so much into imaginative play). I would be the teacher to a handful of stuffed animals, and give full out lectures and examples on my small chalkboard easel. I would listen for their made up responses in my mind, and then even reply! I was very good at talking to and with myself growing up, and I see Eden do this from time to time as well. They are very good at make believe, and even do some of the same things that I did as a kid. I love to see them make forts (even though it means destroying our sofa cushions) I love watching them have tea parties in the bath tub, making soup out of blocks and plastic containers. I love watching them dress up and pretend to be Taylor Swift and have concerts in their bedroom.
My daughters have this amazing wooden kitchen (which I would have died to have when I was growing up) so one day I said, “let’s play restaurant” and I showed them how I would have played when I was little. With them taking turns being the waitress and getting orders and making food. The problem with 2 of them is that of course they BOTH wanted to be the waitress, and had some trouble taking turns, whereas when I was playing by myself growing up, I didn’t have to worry about that. I was always the waitress. This would be another thing that is different between our childhoods. As I grew up with a younger brother (3 years difference), and although we played together sometimes, usually we were on our own, with our own activities we enjoyed. I am so thankful to have 2 girls who are fairly close in age that will have each other to rely on as they grow up. Now they have a constant playmate and friend, as they get older, I pray they will see each other as companions and confidants -someone to always talk to, or cry with, or pray with. I know they will not always see how fortunate they are to have each other, but someday they will realize what a blessing it was to have such a close sister and friend.
Even in today’s age where there are so many distractions, not just for kiddos, but for us adults as well, it is very refreshing to see my girls still choose to use their imaginations to have fun. I can only hope, and certainly pray, that as they get older, and there are more and more distractions thrown their way, and choices become more difficult to make,that they will choose to remain simple, and innocent and try to keep things as uncomplicated as possible.