I want to write one of these about kids today. Because while these “last generation” memes are sweet and nostalgic, our kids don’t have it too bad.
My boys play in the street (we weren’t the last generation to do it!), running amok through the neighborhood, called in by the streetlights. It’s not as much about when they or we grew up as what kind of neighbors you have. And there are still good neighbors. It’s as important as ever to know yours.
Our kids don’t watch Saved by the Bell, but they could if they wanted. They live in the era of YouTube and Netflix, TV shows on DVD and on demand. My kids watch Doctor Who, Transformers and TMNT (the ones I grew up watching), Mork & Mindy, and The Beverly Hillbillies. They don’t watch commercials. Not unless they want to.
My kids will have phones — as needed, as earned. But they don’t and won’t play or chat on them 24/7. At least not while they’re kids. That’s my call as a parent. Instead, they read, build forts in our “woods,” have Nerf and water gun battles.
I’m a little sad that they might never have pen pals like I did. But they live in a world of Skype and Face Time, email and texting. And Facebook and Amazon Prime. All in moderation.
Their world is smaller, closer than ever before. They are growing up in a time when. They are learning Mandarin and Spanish in school; they know China and Mexico are our neighbors. They might be the first generation to move beyond racism (if only we stop teaching them to do otherwise).
They get a lot of grief for being lazy and self-entitled, but individually, I’ve seen them seek out small jobs to save money, not just to buy apps, but to feed the hungry in our community or dig wells in developing nations.
They are self-sufficient, sometimes to a fault, learning how to crochet, use a Magic Loom, or build a faster Pinewood Derby car with a quick Google or YouTube search. Sure, we had the library for that, but they’ll never have to suffer through trying to figure out the next step of Cat’s Cradle through line drawings. I think they got the better bargain there.
My childhood was a good one, full of happy memories-turned-nostalgia. I hope in 25+ years our kids will say the same.