On Mothers day my 9-year-old daughter and I took a 2-mile walk through our favorite park. We spent the time just walking and talking, well okay, she did the majority of the talking, my mother got what she wanted: a little kid for me that talked as much as I did to her! Shelby asked all kinds of questions from anything to everything when she asked a question about my childhood. I told her when I was a kid we didn’t have computers, that those were things that took up whole rooms at NASA and was never thought of being something we could have in our homes! Her eye’s wide with astonishment asked me “What about cell phones mama?” I had to tell her that no, we didn’t have cell phones either, that if we needed to make a call and we weren’t at home we had to stop at a payphone, which made me ask her “Do you know what a payphone is?” She said, “Yeah I know what it is, it’s a booth thingy that has a phone inside of it”. I asked her how she knew that; “I’ve seen them in movies mama”. I couldn’t help but giggle at her reply.
Our conversation kept going on about things we didn’t have when I was a kid. You should have seen her face when I told her our TV’s were as big as desks that sat on the floor and we had only like 4 channels (until the early 80’s when we saw an explosion of channels come through) and if we wanted to turn the channel we had to actually get up and walk over to the darn thing and manually turn the knob, to which her reply was “OMG MOM.. you had to get up off the couch and actually turn it?” Again the giggles came out in me. “Yup, and me being the youngest, I was the one who ALWAYS had to get up and go turn it. That was my job”. I knew this would get her seeing as how she’s the youngest, and it did. “No way… I’d hate that” she said.
I proceeded to tell her how we didn’t even have a microwave until I was like 12 and it was HUGE, so big that it had to have it’s own table because it would take up too much space on the kitchen counter. She was utterly amazed at the thought of life without electronics. I loved being able to share my memories with her and she actually wanting to hear them and discuss them. It made me think about her childhood and how she’ll never know a world that isn’t disconnected from technology. She won’t know what it’s like to be able to disappear and not be found for a while or not have the world literally at her fingertips. She has so many more pressures on her then I did at that age, and I kind of shutter to think of her teenage years. Think about it, it’s always been “keeping up with the Joneses” kind of world, but now it’s so much more electronically driven. We were judged on whether or not we had our Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans on or our Converse All Stars or Nike tennis shoe’s.
Now it’s going to be if she has the newest electronic devices, the latest greatest phone, the fastest computer and all of the social network sites. There are so many new dangers out there for our children and protecting them has become so much harder. It used to be you could tell your kids “Stay away from strangers” but everyone online is a stranger. Sometimes I wish I could take my children back in time, just for a little while, a month maybe, so they could see the world I lived in at their ages.