I had THAT conversation with my seven year-old son yesterday. We had the kind of talk that made me feel like I was super old.
We were discussing his Christmas list and I started to sound like my own mom – telling him that money doesn’t grow on trees and he needs to get a job. Yeah, that and also telling him Santa has many boys and girls on his list, so he can’t be disappointed when he doesn’t get everything he asks for.
The conversation quickly turned to me and about what I had growing up. I was trying to make the point of how lucky he is to have what he has. And of course, he was absolutely stunned to learn that I did not have the Internet when I was his age. His nonverbal expression became even more magnified when he learned more about my childhood…
No honey, I didn’t have an iTouch.
In fact, it wasn’t until I turned 19 years old when I was allowed a cell phone for the first time which we actually called a “car” phone. My parents bought me this phone but I was NEVER to talk on it. Instead, that huge, monster of a phone which weighed near a ton stayed in the glove compartment of my car and was only there in case of an emergency. For the record, I never used that “car” phone, not even once.
No honey, I didn’t have apps. I didn’t have an iPod or an iPad. Better yet, I didn’t even have a computer.
The first computer I remember in elementary school was a big machine that sat in the corner of my second grade classroom. The only thing we could do on it was type our writing. There were no apps or games. It was like a big ol’ typewriter. That.Was.It.
No honey, I didn’t have the Wii. Or the DS. Or the 5,000,000 other handheld devices that you and your sister have.
The only video gaming system we had growing up was Atari – and it was nothing like what is out there today. My brothers and I would fight over the one joystick we owned which was held together with several pieces of duct tape because it broke nearly every other day. We may have played until our fingers bled, but our lives didn’t seem to revolve around these “things” the way my kids’ lives seem to do today.
No honey, I didn’t have all of those things. But you know what I remember?
Running outside and riding my bike.
I remember building a fort in the woods and catching butterflies. I remember entertaining myself with the amount of toys I had – which to me, was plenty.
I loved my dolls and my fashion plates from Caldor. (Oh-em-gee, remember that store?) I could draw and color for hours with a coloring book my mom bought me from Bradlees. Alright, now I’m really showing my age.
I may not have had nearly half of what my kids have today and yet, somehow, I think my childhood was easier. Life was simpler back then. The sad part is, I think my kids are living in a high tech world of instant gratification and I’m not sure they really understand it all.
And the worst part?
I don’t think they appreciate all that they do have.
Maybe I need to do a better job as a parent to teach them the value of a dollar. And perhaps my kids need a good old walk in the park to realize the gift they have right now – the gift of childhood.
If there’s one thing that I wish was on their list this year, it’s to just enjoy being a kid.
Like it’s 1985.
Now that would be one hell of a Christmas.