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.
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.