May 9, 2016

The contrast of a retro childhood vs. a 2016 childhood..

by Darrin Vindiola

Being a child of the 70s and 80s, I sometimes sit back and shake my head at just how much times have changed. What really gets me however, is just how much it's transformed childhood for the youth of today. Let me expound..

In the 70s and 80s..
a lot of kids had newspaper delivery routes.

In 2016..
I wouldn't dream of letting any of my children hop on a bike at 4:00 a.m to deliver newspapers.

In the 70s and 80s..
My entire family enjoyed watching television shows together like Sanford & Son, Magnum P.I., The Jeffersons, Trapper John MD, Alice, and Fantasy Island.

In 2016..
I find myself hard pressed to find situation comedies and dramas that are wholesome enough for my whole family to enjoy. For Pete's sake.. how many commercials for that matter, utilize sexual situations and double entendres to pedal their products?

In the 70s and 80s..
I would spend many a day of my summer vacation playing outside all day long. I would usually watch Saturday morning cartoons, and then set off on some kind of mission, adventure, or day of swimming with my friends. Once I left the house on my bike for the day, my Mom usually wouldn't see or hear from me until it got dark.

In 2016..
I can't imagine giving my kids this much freedom. Not because I don't trust them, but because I don't trust who may be out there. For many, this has given way to television and video games becoming electronic babysitters for their kids. These forms of entertainment keep junior safe from the outside world, and keeps kids corralled within the confines of their bedroom walls. Hmm.. do you think it's coincidence that there's an obesity epidemic among the youth of today?

In the 70s and 80s..
Home cooked meals were the norm, while fast food and soda were treats enjoyed only on rare occasions.

In 2016..
Many people practically live off of fast food and soda. If it's not fast food, processed food which requires minimal time to cook can be found in practically every home in America. I'm not sure when we started buying into the notion that our lives are so hectic and busy, that home cooked meals are no longer a feasible option. That's not to say people aren't busy, because I sure as heck am always short on time.  However, with a little forethought and planning, you can easily make an incredibly healthy meal for an entire family in fifteen minutes. As for soda.. I can honestly say that at one time, I drank more soda than water. Wisdom however got the best of me, and I now only drink soda on the rare occasion.

Maybe I'm off base with some of my views. Someone in a small town may very well be able to let their kids play outside until dark, or have a newspaper route with no worries. When you come right down to it however, there have always been sinister people, and those who mean to do others harm. Sex in advertising and entertainment have also always been around, albeit less prevalent or more subtle in years past. Are things really that much worse than back in the day?

Like so many others in society, I now feel the need to be connected at all times to my spouse and family via cell phone just in case of an emergency, or if something bad happens. Are we stifling ourselves and needlessly creating anxiety for us and our children?  One thing is for sure however, and that is.. before technology took such a firm hold on our lives, my life sure felt like it moved a lot slower than it does today.

Feel free to chime in. What did you enjoy during your youth that just isn't an option for kids today? Are parents too careful and overly protective in today's society?   I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I've got to say, that a second reading of "My '70s book" by Daryll Sherman is what got me reminiscing this week about the good old days. Check it out if you also fondly look back on those simpler times from your youth..

Buy it here for $11.95

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