A Different Time

January 22, 2009 at 2:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Things have changed a lot since I was a kid. Yesterday Robbie and The Missus were walking across a parking lot. Robbie stopped and picked something up. It was a cigarette butt.

Robbie: What this, mommy?
The Missus: Ick, that’s a cigarette. Put it down.
R: What do? [Translation: What is it for?]
TM: Some people smoke cigarettes.

And with that Robbie put down the cigarette and they continued to the car. Now, the conversation itself isn’t all that exciting. But when The Missus and I got to thinking about it, we realized that Robbie has probably never spent more than 10 seconds near a smoker in his entire life. In fact, the only times I can recall him being near cigarettes were all either Downtown or outside of restaurants. None of our family members smoke, and none of our closest friends or acquaintances smoke (or if they do they never do it around us). Robbie has virtually zero exposure to smokers.

It’s weird to compare what his youth will be like with what my youth was like. Living life day-to-day it’s easy to forget how many changes have occurred. But boy, when I compare Robbie’s world now with my world then, some of the changes are huge.

Parents, what seminal events can you recall when you realized just how different your childhood was than that of your children?

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The Comments

West A Dad January 22, 2009 at 3:18pm

for my elementary years in the early 70’s. I walked the five blocks or so to school and back everyday, sometimes alone, sometimes with other kids. I spent a huge amount of time three blocks away at Bethany Park during those years also.  Often riding there on my bike.

When my 5 year old son started riding his bike last fall without training wheels I realized how the times have changed.  I’d never let him go blocks away at his age without supervision. Is it a fear of abduction? I don’t know, probably.  I just wouldn’t feel safe. 

Am I overprotective? Or has the world really changed that much? My Mom would stand on the front porch and blow a whistle which I usually heard wherever I was.  It was my signal to come home.

Fletch January 22, 2009 at 3:30pm

One of the things that struck me is that I grew up without Cable TV until November 4, 1980 (I was 13). Even with cable, there was no remote. When my dad wanted the channel changed, he’d often send me to turn the knob one click at a time until we found something. VCR? Not until maybe 1983 or 1984. Cable with a remote? College, circa 1985. DVR? Not ‘til the bastards at Time Warner introduced it.

So today, I have digital cable, with the DVR (third greatest invention ever, just after fire and the wheel).

My daughter’s whole world (she is 6) has been almost an on-demand deal. We’d record shows she likes, and could play them as needed. Then she started saying things like, “I want to watch Scooby Doo” - and I’d point out that it’s not on now, and she figured I could just press a couple of buttons, and she could watch any show or movie, instantly, at any time or place.

We also have seen the smoking thing. Why do people smoke? Why do it if it’s bad for you? Why do people throw them out the car window? and on and on…

meatball January 22, 2009 at 3:36pm

Car seats. I’m sure I was never strapped in until I started wearing a seatbelt in my mid-20s.

Diane K January 22, 2009 at 3:59pm

I’m 50. Some random memories:
We didn’t have a TV until I was 14, and it was a little B&W;and Dad controlled what we watched. We never used seatbelts. Dad smoked in the house and car. We had two bicycles for 7 kids to share. The 5 girls in the family weren’t allowed to learn how to drive (I learned in college), and we couldn’t participate in sports or pep club. The only career options offered to us girls were: married mother, teacher, nurse, nun. We had soda pop just once a year - on July 4th. I didn’t encounter a person of color until I was almost out of high school (small town Nebraska). The only sports for girls were volleyball and track; basketball was just getting started when I graduated. Latin was still offered in high school. We used manual typewriters. I didn’t travel out of state until I was a Junior. People still celebrated May Day and distributed fancy May baskets. Computers? The Internet? Email? What were those??

The list could go on and on. My 17 year old daughter’s life has been incredibly different than mine!

Peter January 22, 2009 at 7:33pm

“career options offered to us girls were: married mother, teacher, nurse, nun.”


And just think… now you could do all… at the same time!

Diane K January 22, 2009 at 10:00pm

Um…not really. They still don’t let nuns marry, at least not Catholic ones.

JT January 23, 2009 at 4:22am

I remember going to the bowling alley in the 80s with my mom on Tuesday mornings and the place was just filled with smoke, no one seemed to mind. I also remember some really old guy was President of the United States.

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