There Was A Time When We Allowed Kids To Be Kids
I keep thinking about my near two-year old grandson and wondering about the world he will grow up in. Forget about the obvious because I’m more troubled by how complicated it is to be a kid these days for a million reasons. Even at a young age they have to deal with things that were unimaginable in my day….we didn’t even know what they were. Life should be simple for young kids and it was in “my day” but it’s not any longer. Today’s children may have more glamorous “toys” then we did but they will never know how much fun it was to play hopscotch, red light, green light, hide-and-seek and stay outside with your friends until it was dark (or your mother started screaming for you to come inside).
Growing up in the 50’s, 60’s and even the early 70’s was so much easier than it is today for both kids and their parents. Sure there was peer pressure and bullying but nothing like children face today. We really didn’t know anything and for the most part were pretty innocent. I mean young boys used to glance at their father’s issues of National Geographic for often what was their first view of a naked woman and if as a 13 or 14-year old you got a hold of a Playboy magazine you would be a hero in your neighborhood. That was a time when the worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was “cooties.”
We didn’t call drugs drugs…rather they were prescriptions from your doctor, some of whom made house calls. If you did something wrong you often told your parents first because sooner or later they would find out about it and that would be much worse. I still recall the time when I was 13 or so when my friend Ray and I won a carton of Salem cigarettes on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights. We proceeded to go down by the bay and began smoking one after the other. I don’t remember how many we got through but we both started turning green, threw the carton away and went home. I walked into my house, started crying and confessed to my mother while begging her not to tell my father. I don’t think she ever did and I never smoked another cigarette again.
I am well aware that every older generation tends to wax poetic about the “good old days” and in truth they probably weren’t as good as we thought they were. Or maybe they were…one thing is for sure and that is it was much simpler to be a kid.