Kids, what’s the matter with kids today. Why can’t they be like we were, perfect in every way…
When I was young I used to hate it when older people said things such as “back in my day” and “when we were young”. Now I’m (much) older, I find myself making those same annoying utterances.
It’s true that children today amuse themselves in very different ways to past generations. When I was a lad (see, there I go again), the vast majority of our leisure time was spent outdoors; playing cowboys and indians, building and racing billy carts – “billy carts”, is that a universal name or unique to Australia? Anyway, just in case, here’s an image.
We boys used to raid the local tip for old pram wheels which included ball bearing races and, let me tell you, when fitted to a billy cart those things could fly. We raced our billy carts down one hill in particular which finished with a sharp left turn at the bottom and a lake straight ahead. The choices were basically either skinned knees trying to navigate the sharp bend or a watery demise. Great fun!
These days, it’s all about electronic devices, videos and video games, and very little to do with imagination.
I’ve had a lot to do with kids over the years – as well as coaching junior football for a long time I’ve been fortunate enough to raise four kids of my own and now enjoy the experience of sharing time with some 13 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. Are they any different to what we were? No, not on your life.
It’s true that with today’s technology and advanced communications kids seem to grow up faster, the age of innocence being somewhat shorter than it used to be, but, essentially, kids are kids, always have been and always will be.
I remember once during my football coaching career taking on a group of 14 and 15 year olds. They were certainly a wild bunch but honestly, deep down, no different to how my generation was at that age. When you got to know them, they were actually a delightful group of boys and I am still friends with many of them to this day.
The family that plays together stays together – outside or inside
There is no doubting that technology has irreversibly changed the ways in which children entertain themselves, whether for the better or the worse is open to debate. Personally, I believe the onus remains largely on the shoulders of parents and, provided they are prepared to put in the time, show the love and teach right from wrong, it doesn’t really matter how children spend their leisure time.
I’ll leave you with the following video clip (which is actually an ad) showing different generations of families talking about what they did (or do) as kids for fun:
Do today’s kids spend too much time looking at screens, should they spend more time smelling the roses, what do you think?