Smash it all. Grab it all.
When I was a kid there were four seasons in a year and we played out when the weather was nice and we played board games when we got bored. Personal computers were science fiction and the concept of video phone calling was an April fool’s joke on the TV show, Tomorrows World. The news at ten was dark but other news at the end of the show was often something light.
Back then you could laugh at any jokes that you thought were funny though and cultural diversity was pretty much black and white. We learned to tell the time on analogue clocks and watches and the terms we coined from that became part of our dialect.
Progress was measured by collective achievement and breakthroughs that made things more accessible, easier, and quicker. Even the food began speeding up. But though there were good times there were still pressures, and sometimes, people went mad.
I’m not a kid anymore. When I look back at my childhood through my adult eyes I can’t help but wonder if it’s actually better now than it was back then?
The seasons are still there, only now you have all the seasons in a week or if you’re really lucky, in a single day but at least the kids are still playing out, although they’re split into two rough categories these days, the really young and the troublemakers. Board games are boring.
In our new online world personal computers have become almost obsolete but we’re digitally integrated into everything via mobile phones and tablets. The kids that you don’t see are now the “young people” connected to each other and the rest of us on social media and any news or information is literally at your fingertips.
The language of time has definitely changed too. Quarter to four has now become Swahili clicks and whistles. Political correctness has “straightened out” our mistakes of the past but there’s no longer any good news on TV and fast food has also slowed some of our children right down. The “madness” is now down to poor mental health. The world is a much different place but what progress have we really made?
Though we like to remember things with fondness as bad memories always seem fade over time we must also remember that most of the things we had in the past are still there. Our changing needs have affected the balance of the things we knew before which makes the old days seem better once we have children.
The perception that the world is a worse place than it once was is a real one, but the fact that you can now research the evidence of this yourself means that new technologies in information gathering have made something better than it was. It’s down to perspective and balance. We’ve offset one thing with another.
One balancing act we can’t afford to change though is letting our kids be kids. Elders must act as guardians and teachers for the young. We have always learned from generation to generation and adapted and evolved, but because the world is changing from needing things to wanting things, our chase for material has led to us not paying enough attention to the behaviours our children are learning from us. It’s always happened, but now we’re staring at a precipice.
Unfortunately we can’t smash everything and start again, but there must be a way to restore some of the “factory settings” and grab some valuable things back. Simple, important things like spending time with our children and taking an interest in educating them in every way are fundamental in restoring values. Things change, it’s only natural that they do, but some things are so important to us that we can’t afford to let them change or the balance cannot be kept.
Playing sports helps to keep the body healthy and playing games helps to keep the mind healthy, and if you get sick you can get well. The rest of the stuff, we learn along the way. These are messages we need to learn in childhood and in the past we always have. It’s unrealistic to smash it all and grab it all back but we can teach our children to play again so that when they become adults they can remember the good old days of when they were kids.