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When I was a kid...

Lots of tales begin this way, most of them unfavorable to the children of today. Our parents apparently had the most difficult lives ever - unless you speak to *their* parents. Today's kids don't stand a chance.

I do remember, though, spending hours and hours outside as a child. I went for hour long bike rides, exploring sections of my fair city that I still remember to this day. We went outside immediately after breakfast and came in when the street lights came on at night. We took picnics and played on the streets and drank from the hose when we were thirsty. We didn't think about sunblock, bug spray, overheating, skin cancer, dehydration, Lyme's disease or stranger danger. Screen time referred to the door that slammed behind you, and TVs only had three channels - and they showed soap operas and other "adult" programming in the afternoon - so no self respecting kid would be near the TV.

We just played.

Our toys were bubbles and bottles, cans and bikes. We played foursquare and kickball, rode bikes in races and ran under sprinklers. I remember being very envious of friends who had a slip and slide. No one had a pool unless they were very wealthy. 

Nowadays, kids play online for hours, have gaming systems and handheld devices with them all the time, and watch more television with questionable story lines than I ever remember. They are almost always underfoot and in the house - I think that hours and almost days went by without me seeing my parents in the summer. Kids today expect to be entertained and amused - at least my own kids do, who greet every day with, "Where will we go today?"

Times have changed, and I'm not sure if it's better now or back then. I wish my children had the freedom to roam around that I did, and that they didn't have to worry about things like skin cancer and mosquito bites that have the ability to kill. I think that the freedoms we used to have are a definite loss for the children of today, but I also see that they are more smart, knowledgeable and street savvy than I was until I grew up and moved out. So, there's a trade off.

What are some of the things you remember as a child that you wish your child was able to experience? What things are you happy they can take advantage of that may not have been available during your childhood?


by on Jul. 11, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (51-60):
by on Jul. 18, 2012 at 3:07 PM

We had family friends who lived out in the country...they had four boys to our three girls.  Every summer me and my sisters would be sent to the Wares for two weeks.  We'd get up in the morning, do chores like gathering eggs (being pecked by an irate chicken hurts!), milking cows, mucking stalls until lunchtime.  Then the rest of the day was ours.  They had this big flatbed trailer, and we camped out on that thing.  It became a houseboat exploring the Bermuda Triangle, a sailboat searching for the Loch Ness Monster, and a camper on the West Coast searching for Bigfoot.  It was a horse drawn carriage in Transylvania.  It was a bunker in WW2.  It was an army fort during the Revolutionary War.  It was the basement of the Alamo.   
We had so much fun on that one trailer--we saw more of the world from it than anywhere else.
They also had woods on their property.  We discovered poison ivy, wild berries, and that skunks could spray really, really far.  And we also perfected the art of not only climbing trees...but kissing in them, too.  
I remember how Sheila would ring the bell for us to come wash up for dinner--and many times, she'd have to hose us down before we were allowed to even come in the house.  I remember eating watermelon out on the porch after dinner, then having a food fight with what we didn't eat.  I remember Sheila putting a pan of rice krispy treats, cookies, brownies..along with a jug of kool aid, fruit punch, or tea out on the porch for us to have as a snack.
I wish my daughter could have experienced something like that--even the kissing.

I remember being 7, 8 years old, and riding my bike up to the public library when it opened at 10am.  I'd stay there all day reading books, and enjoying the air conditioning during the summer--we didn't have air conditioning in our house until 1990.  It gets pretty dang hot in Houston during the summer!

I remember getting together with a bunch of neighbor kids and going to the ditch.  We'd stand in the mud right next to the water and have contests to see how far we could sink before we got scared.  We had to get one boys dad to pull him out.  He'd sunk to his armpits and we couldn't pull him out.  His dad had to get a tractor to get him out.
We also would go to construction sites and play.  We'd have war with the dirt piles..come home bloody and banged up.  We'd dare each other to climb the cranes.  My dad had to rescue me from one when my shirt got all tangled up in some cable when I reached the very tip of the crane.  He climbed up that crane, untangled it, and said, "Do not mention a word of this to your mother!"   Our parents didn't worry much...or if they did, they didn't mention it!

We were outside more than we were inside.  These days?  Im sure there are some communities where you can do that still....but I don't know of any.

by on Jul. 18, 2012 at 10:03 PM

I moved to small town less then 14,000 3rd week here I let take a walk with 2 little girls 10-12 years of age my son almost 8 and they come back running talking about the man in truck wanting to give son some candy. We make movies about monster all time but we real monster walking or enter acting with are the real monsters one that put HollyWood to shame.

Quoting Bluetick:

This is so true and sad! That's why we moved back to my home town in the sticks.... we are the last house on a dead end road (3 houses total) and we live in the middle of. 100 acres

Quoting amy7243:

 Riding bikes everywhere! Now adays with all the kidnapping you cant just let them go ride with their friends.   :(

by on Jul. 19, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Being able to spend time just being a kid! Not being rushed around to appts here & there. Just going out and playing.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Jul. 20, 2012 at 12:35 PM

I'm glad my kids don't have to go to a daycare everyday. I do wish they would take advantage of the outside. I have to set a limit everyday on electronics or they would do that 24/7.

by on Jul. 20, 2012 at 5:37 PM

My calso remember my childhood was spent in daycare and I think my kids are having a lot better one actually. We go to the pool everyday and the park.   I  think one thing that is better is when i was a kids i remember smoking was done everywhere!!!!! I remember it was perfectly ok for parents to smoke in the home.  So I'm happy thats not the case anymore!!

by on Jul. 20, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Nothing of my childhood I would wish on my children. I lived by disappearing. I had a mom who wasn't "available" and a step-dad who was abusive. My freedom was not much more than figuring out how to survive. 

I use to walk 4 miles north or south on the railway just to get a soda/candy or watch a movie. This trip happened several times a week. TV was something I got up at 6am to watch for 30 minutes and then I'd disappear for the day. I use to pick cherries during the summer and cart them in my red wagon to the local church grounds while they were having events and sell quart bags of cherries to use as spending money. My first "job" (I've always worked best when I worked for myself). 

The one good thing. I never worried about what might happen to me when I was alone. In my reality all the danger was at home. Now days you can't let a child out of  your sight without worrying about pedophiles and such. 

by on Jul. 20, 2012 at 7:15 PM

I wish my kids could see alligators lined up along the drainage ditch in the morning by the bus stop.  I wish my kids could see the shuttle launch from the back yard.

by on Jul. 21, 2012 at 11:21 AM
1 mom liked this

I'm happy to have cell phones. Keeps us in touch in case of an emergency. In Sept both of mine will be in high school and schedules will be busy. A cell phone is a useful tool for us. 

Glad to have the internet too. When I was little I did not have the luxury of just going outside on my own to ride a bike w/ friends. Going to the park was a very limited experience in my memory.
Maybe if my folks had the internet they would have found other fun activities for us to do around the city that I now find out about online. It opens alot of possibilities we can't always get by word of mouth.

I like video games! We play together during those rainy days and winter storms. :D When I was little, well, it is hard to play a board game when you are an only child.
We do alot of arts n crafts too, so don't think it's all tv all the time. The tv here gets neglected alot with us.

by on Jul. 21, 2012 at 5:30 PM

I wish my kids could go outside and play by themselves without being harassed by the ever-growing population of "Child Haters"!

Be quiet! Stay off my lawn! Get off my street! Where did you come from! I'm gonna eat you!

by on Jul. 22, 2012 at 8:01 PM

I would like for my children to have an appreciation for the outdoors such as gardening, hiking, going on a picnic. We're even limited on yardspace at the moment. I am glad, however, that our children are both able and eager to learn of their home responsabilities such as learning to cook and how to keep their room tidy, as well as their education in school and Bible, which are far better than the education I was able to receive when I was young. We are able to take them on nature walks every so often, and I think they will learn to develop an appreciation for the outdoors and nature in time.  A trade off? Maybe, but I think it's not such a bad one for my young ones.

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