A group of us middle-aged folks was sitting around not too long ago, talking about how easy our kids have it today compared to when we were young.
We didn't have electronic games to keep us entertained, we used brooms and hairbrushes to pretend we were in rock bands.
There weren't 17 different kinds of bicycles--mountain bike, trick bikes, street bike, racing bike, carbon framed. You got a Huffy. Girls got the banana seat with the basket in front and boys got the three-speed.
There weren't trampolines in every third yard. You had to wait for that wonderful week in school when the trampoline was part of phy. ed.
Speaking of phy. ed. do you remember the gym suits? No one today has to wear those shapeless one-piece wonders with your name hand-printed on the front. Oh, the indignity!
Back in the day, only the farm kids drove to school and that's because they really did have to get home before the bus and do chores.
We didn't have the Weather Channel to watch before you got dressed. Your mom told you to what to wear, reminded you to bring a sweater and showed little compassion when you complained of being cold later in the day. And there was always an umbrella in the car.
We didn't have cell phones and texting. Our parents yelled out the back door and there was hell to pay if you weren't within shouting distance at dinner time.
In fact, we all had party lines and it was a pretty special thing to get a long-distance call. Who needed Facebook? All the neighbors listened in and news, both good and bad, spread pretty darned quick.
More importantly, we used to start each call by saying, "Hello," not "Where are you?" You were in your house, usually in the kitchen, because that's where your phone was.
This is about the time the youngsters chimed in. Sure, they agreed that they enjoy some present day luxuries. But they argued that each luxury brings some challenges.
If you weren't home, that was it. No answering machine, no voice mail, no messages. The person trying to reach you had to try again. No phone tag.
We never had to waste any of our precious time looking for cordless or cell phones. Of course, that also meant we never had to explain why the phone was under the bed, either.
And as far as school goes, we were informed that having your grades online is a mixed blessing at best. Back when report cards were mailed home, there was at least some hope of intercepting a less than perfect grade at the mailbox. And parents really did have to wait until the end of the quarter to get any idea of how you were doing, so the amount of parental nagging has gone up exponentially. Or so our children tell us.
Their list of modern tribulations also included a fairly lengthy list of useless knowledge: how to score in bowling (there are machines for that); how to balance a checkbook (first, who has a checkbook anymore, they all have debit cards; second, the computer keeps a running balance); how to spell (spell check); etc.
What we concluded was that there is good and bad in every generation. I just can't wait to discover what about this generation will become a lost art?