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?