Thursday, October 2, 2008

kids today good they have it

When I was a kid, I remember my parents giving me their sob stories of how good we kids had it these days compared to their lifestyles when they were kids – stories of being raised on a farm doing chores like milking cows and bailing hay and cooking for the entire family and cleaning up and gathering eggs and butchering chickens. When I was a teenager my parents spoke of how spoiled we were and didn’t even realize it because when they were kids they didn’t have their own cars unless they paid for it and they rarely got new clothes and shoes, as they didn’t have the money for it. When I was in college, my parents told us how lucky we were to have parents paying for a college education, and damn right they have every right to expect certain grades and behavior as long as they are paying for it no matter how independent we think we are now, and how many more credit hours were required 25 years ago for the same degree, and how my dad hitchhiked 4 hours back to school, and how they worked in lieu of or while attending college themselves.

And I did like any kid, teenager and college student does. I rolled my eyes, snarled my nose and said something sarcastic.

But you know what? I knew they were right. I knew I had it easy compared to their lives as kids. I really did. I also knew that I didn’t have as much privilege and material things as many of my peers. I struggled with that a bit, but in my head, I knew I still had it good compared to many and especially compared to my parents.

I really didn’t think that there would be too much room for me to have these stories for my kids. Mainly because, I was going to demand many of the same things from my kids as my parents did from me with respect to responsibility, earning my keep, and helping/contributing to the family. But, I can already tell you, I can see how much more spoiled kids are these days than even we were as kids.

Here are some of the things I find myself thinking or saying comparing and contrasting my lifestyle as a kid to theirs. And YES, I realize these are ridiculous.

  1. When I was a baby, we were in an infant seat and car seat until we were 3. Then we crawled around the backseat like it was the cockpit of our private spaceship. I am still alive.

  2. When I was a kid, we had to arrange pick up and drop off places ahead of time. We had to have spare change on hand for an emergency PAY PHONE call just in case. We knew how to call collect if we needed to. All because this little thing called a cell phone did not exist.

  3. When I was a kid, we made it through an ENTIRE SOCCER game without a snack. We even made it all the way home until we could be met with a made from scratch dinner after WE set the table or until we could be met with a healthy snack. Also, we drank WATER, not Gatorade or PowerAde from a plastic bottle, no, WATER from this amazing thing called A THERMOS.

  4. When I was a kid, I did not get a Capri sun in my lunch every day. I was to drink the milk the school provided or I was to drink WATER (from a thermos).

  5. When I was a kid, when we waited for the bus, we actually LEFT OUR HOMES and went to the bus stop. We did not watch from our windows as the bus stopped every 3 houses waiting for poor over-sleeping, cold kids who refuse to wear a coat because they think it makes them look UNCOOL.

  6. When I was a kid, we actually RESPECTED and MINDED our teachers in school because if we got in trouble at school, we were going to get in bigger trouble at home unlike the kids of today whose parents are constantly making excuses for their children’s unacceptable behavior while undermining teachers’ diminishing authority.

  7. When I was a kid, McDonald’s was fun just because. Not just because it had a playland. Playlands did not exist.

  8. When I was a kid, eating out in general was a huge treat. We loved it because it was exciting and different. We behaved at restaurants, too, because WE WERE EXPECTED TO.

  9. When I was a kid, we went outside and played games we invented. We ran and chased and pretended. We didn’t have elaborate play-structures in our backyard and a third garage stall full of nothing but rarely touched children’s toys.

  10. When I was a kid, we watched TV at night with our families to wholesome shows that were not inappropriate for kids under the age of 15 to witness on 1 of 4 network channels. Cable did not exist until I was in late grade school. Even then, there was one kid channel for many years. We didn’t even have a remote control until I was in grade school. Oh yeah, when MTV first came out, they aired really cool things called MUSIC VIDEOS instead of brainwashing liberal media.

  11. When I was a kid, I started out listening to my music on this thing called VINYL until a new technology called CASSETTE took off. Then, when I was in college, I started using CD’s. We had BOOM BOXES and walkmans if we wanted to take our music with us and we didn’t hide behind earbuds when any social situation arose.

  12. When I was a kid, we did this amazing thing with our friends – we TALKED. We didn’t IM or text. If something was urgent, we TALKED WITH URGENCY instead of using all caps or extra exclamation points. We left messages on each other’s locker chalkboards, not on their facebook wall.

  13. When I was a kid, we kept score at our sporting events. We even had a running tally called STANDINGS and the winners were given trophies. Not every kid was given a trophy just because they participated. It did this great thing – it weeded out kids who really didn’t want to be playing and it made it MORE AFFORDABLE. Also it helped us learn at a very young age that sometimes life doesn’t go exactly the way you want it to no matter how hard you try, but you have to keep trying because maybe next time it will.


all images courtesy google images.


  1. You are so good! And so right! I think every parent just wants to do more for their kid than they had. Unfortunately, you know I will not be able to do for my kids as much as was done for me. But I do hope they learn the lessons better than I learned. I hope Gavin and Grant can't talk on the phone (or text or play DS) until they have finished washing and drying all the dinner dishes every night. Like some other chick I know had to do.

  2. Absolutely! All of the above. So true.

    One of the things my boys who have grown up with TiVo don't understand is that TV programming is SCHEDULED. You can't just watch anything at anytime. Well, we used to not be able to.

    Great post!

  3. Have I ever told you that you are one of my favorite bloggers?! I couldn't agree with you more!! AMEN sister!!!

  4. This is so funny and so true! I can't believe how hard we really had it - HA! No - really!

    Take care, Angie - see you soon - Kellan

  5. hey! Thanks for stoppin by Angie. Bossys place was kinda warm under the collar this morning, eh? Oh, well. Shes so funny.

    Sorry I was a downer when you came over for some conservative luv.. It really does get better here at the coastal nest, just not today.
    Ill say a big prayer for your man! Keep believing, Ang..
    coastal nest

  6. You go, girl! I related to you on 13/13 - it is funny how different things are when we look back - even in just one generation. I wonder what sob stories our kids will actually have in their arsenal to tell their kids?!

  7. Oh you are making me feel so old at the ripe old age of 27! This is true though - kids today are very spoiled. Makes me scared to see how it will be for our grandkids (waaaaay down the line!).

  8. When I was a kid we ate dinner every evening at 5:00, because my mom stayed home and cooked, she wasn't shuttling kids back and forth to activities.

  9. WOW... you are right no. So very true. Especially TALKING to friends. I can't imagine what my future holds with my children. It seems like everyone has a phone. But then again, we aren't like everyone. Right?

  10. Yes, yes, yes. I am SO with you on the trophy thing. And I ADORED Little House! Cried every week...

  11. It's so funny that you say this, because out loud to the 3 yo last week I said something like, "You know, when I was little my mom said gas cost a quarter. And, you will laugh at me for talking about when cars ran on gas."

    I loved Little House, too. And, I could not agree with you on #6 more - I taught middle school and you could tell which kids ran the homes and which ones were members of it.

    Also, I loved climbing all over the car. We made tents in the back of our huge Buick wagon.

    Also, I'm checking in to see how you were doing?

  12. This is excellent.
    I remember thinking CD's were a fad.And,in my house McDonald's was where you went for a treat on a very rare occasion.

  13. This made me smile so big for it is so true. I am of your parents generation and maybe even a little older than that, so I completely related to your description of their hardships. I said many of the same things to my children and got the same reaction you gave.

    Now, I see my kids dealing with their kids and it is your story all over the place.

    I have had my kids laugh at me, roll their eyes at me over my penchant for saving things that might be used again. In this throw away society with the economic woes of today, I'm really hoping they don't have to go back to the days I remember as a child.

    This was a great read. Thanks for your humor.

  14. Oh this was gooood.. It is so true.. I laughed out loud when I read number 12. It was too funny. I actually did not know every kid got a trophy until my nephews started school a couple of years ago.. I still don't understand how that helps build a character that understands losing and winning..

    Great POST!!!

  15. Oh my goodness! You are so right! My kids complain about so many things, especially food. We ate what my parents gave us. There weren't separate kid dinners/ adult dinners. A huge treat was a tv dinner with salisbury steak. My kids would gag at the sight.

  16. Friday night:
    The Muppet Show, spaghetti-O's, milk, bean bag in front of the TV....heaven on earth.


  17. I LOVE this post. Really brings back memories. What a different world we grew up in. I remember playing for hours building forts in the woods, riding bikes and running around the neighbourhood. Life was so much simpler then, wasn't it? It makes me sad that our kids will miss out on so many of those wonderful experiences we had.

  18. And not a word one about walking to school in the snow, uphill both ways! ;o) Excellent post!