Monday, February 17, 2014

How Did I Ever Raise Kids?

I wonder how I ever raised two sons to full adulthood. 

We did not have car seats for them to be buckled into. Heck our cars didn't even have seat belts installed. Sometimes I even held my infant baby on my lap while I drove the car. Can you imagine that! More often than not, one of the boys sat on my lap and the other sat in the passenger seat next to me. He usually stood and chattered away at me as I drove. If I had to brake suddenly, I always threw my arm out to keep him from slamming into the front window. I still do that. Even though the person next to me is firmly belted into a shoulder harness.

1976


My boys walked or rode their bikes to school. We lived approximately a mile from their school. There was one really, busy street they had to cross. There was always a 'student' school crossing guard at that corner. I worked night shift and my husband worked days. Many times he left before I got home and they had to get themselves off to school. It was the way most of the people in my generation did things. And I never heard of too many problems.
 Sure, once in awhile a kid would give himself a haircut before he went to school. Or there were a few brotherly fistfights that took place over breakfast. But otherwise all went okay.

We only had one telephone in our house. And it was connected to the wall. If someone called you could stand next to the phone and talk. Later on we purchased a really long curly cord so that I could walk into the kitchen or the bathroom. Or even into the bedroom to break-up a battle over whose race car belonged to who.
The kids didn't get to talk on the phone. Or it was rare. They talked to grandma occasionally, but they both lived in the same town where we lived. So mostly we just visited them. Around the age of 12 my oldest son began to get phone calls from girls at school. They usually came during our supper time. So he always told them he couldn't talk now. Never in a million years did I ever dream that one of my boys needed a cellphone. They hadn't even been invented back then. From 1990 to 2011 world wide phone use grew from 12.4 million to 6 billion users. That is  too much for me to even fathom. In 1990 my oldest son was 19 and he moved away from home. And had not yet been bitten by the cell-phone craze.My younger son purchased his own cell phone (it was a pay as you go kind) in his last year of high school. Now people are equipping their kindergartners with cell-phones! What if they need to get a hold of mommy during the day? Can you imagine. Or their 8 year old is spending the night next door and mom needs to ask her something. Viola...get her a cell phone.

My boys rode bikes and skateboards and played soccer. They didn't own helmets or shin guards. No one did! The fell and hit their head. The skinned their knees. My youngest one even fell off the monkey bar and broke his arm. But he mended. We all mended. A band aid fixed everything.

Kids are so over-protected now. I hear people who say "the world is so much worse than it was back then." I don't know if I really believe that. I think we just hear more about how bad the world is because we now have 24-hour news available. And to fill all those hours the media needs to sensationalize everything. Kids have been walking to school or riding their bikes around town since like forever. 

I wonder what is going to happen to these kids when they leave home? Will they know how to take care of themselves?  Will they be able to make a decision without calling mom on their cellphone? Will they know what to do when something goes wrong? Because right now mom and dad interfere with everything to make sure little Bobby or Susie are being treated fairly. My mom used to tell me when I was growing up: LIFE ISN'T FAIR! And she was right. It isn't. Sometimes we just have to figure it out all by ourselves.

I am not sitting here, in my ivory tower, trying to tell you that I know everything. Or that things were better back in the 'olden days' (even if I think it WAS simpler). And I sure did not raise two perfect kids. And both of my grandchildren have cell-phones so I can always get in contact with them. And I worry about them. And sometimes I interfere and try to make sure they are being treated fairly. But I tell myself almost daily to "lighten up. Let them figure it out."

What do you think? Share your thoughts with me.

10 comments:

  1. I agree with you on a lot of that Paula. Especially the cell phone thing. We are so dependent on them that we panic if we run low on battery or forget it at home. It's hilarious.

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    1. My cell phone is now our home phone as well. When Richard got sick and I had to stop working, one of the first things I did was cancel the landline!

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  2. I was raised like your boys, at times we didn't even have a telephone when I was growing up, yet my mom was "okay" with it, not being able to check where we might be if we weren't home when we were supposed to be. I was freak out if we had such conditions when my kids, especially in their high school years. I did like the cell phone for my son when he got it in 7th grade because I could keep track of him, so to speak. He would always answer the phone if we were calling. I have heard of some kids that wouldn't answer the phone if it was their parents. The first time that would have happened, would have been the end of him having a cell phone. I think it was a different environment a few years ago. Not necessarily safer, but just different. While I have a cell phone, mainly for emergencies, I don't live on my cell phone like some people do who are constantly talking on them while at the store, etc. I do agree they are great for emergencies though!

    betty

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    1. I was raised in the 50's so times were really different! We never had a telephone until I was in high school. Yes, I agree with it being nice to be able to keep track of them. But seriously some people simply are never UN-attached from their kids. I wonder how the kids will ever manage. I love my cell phone as well!

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  3. It is not just about kids either. It permeates our whole culture. How about the "hot" warning on fast food coffee cups. Oh my. Don't get me started on this topic. It makes me nuts!!!!

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    1. Exactly but that is because we have a 'lawsuit' happy nation!

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  4. Oh, how I wish that today were as simple! Overregulation of EVERYTHING makes life so complicated.

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    1. Yes it does! But we also have a generation of parents who are just too involved with their kids and kids are not allowed to just be kids anymore.

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  5. I think that the more the news reports bad, the more people do bad because some "want their 15 minutes of fame". I totally agree with you about the news. Sometimes Elexis will bring me a "this is not fair" situation. Most of the time I don't get involved I just give her the "that sucks and I am sorry". It is sad that I won't let her ride her scooter or really even play in the front yard by herself. We don't live in the best neighborhood (our street and surrounding streets are great, but past a certain stop sign it is not so great) and I just don't trust people. I am thankful my kid has a cell phone because last week her school was on lockdown (something we never had to worry about when I went to school). There was a man that was being served a warrant and he made a ran for it. But, Elexis texted me and let me know she was safe and that everything was okay. Right after I heard, I went and looked up the guy's charges and it was mainly for burglary nothing aggravated. I am very involved in her life, but she does have to deal with bad grades (the couple of times she has got them) or the motivator (sentences she had to write) that she has gotten. One of the things we didn't have to contend with when we were younger though, is the internet and all that can come with that. That is where the 'good ole days' come into effect (even though I love the internet).

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    1. I love the internet as well Cristy. But I worry a lot about what kind of effect it will have on my grandkids

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I love to hear what you might think. Leave me a comment. I guarantee though that I will delete your comment if you are just here to cause trouble. So tread lightly!