Every generation seems to think the next crop of kids is spoiled. You know it was some middle-aged parent imparting wisdom on their entitled and whiny kid, muttering the words "up hill both ways in the snow." Kids always think they have it hard and the older, wiser adults are always compelled to dispel the myth that things have gotten tougher.
I should know, I was that kid once. Now I'm that adult.
When I sent the kids outside to play today in 80 degree temps -- the first beautiful day that allowed us to enjoy the great outdoors -- within minutes I get...
"Mooooom, it's hottttttt out here."
"Mommmmeeeeeee, can I have an umbrella? The sun is on my face!"
It made me think back to my own childhood and wonder if we seemed so fragile to those who grew up before us. While life seems to get more complicated for kids as time moves on, the luxuries they enjoy create an expectation that things should always be comfortable.
I remember getting sunburns so bad, I had to go to bed for two days.
I remember standing in line at Disney World in humid unbearable temps, wearing a long-sleeve turtle neck so I wouldn't get burned again.
I remember being eleven years old and delivering newspapers to 54 houses in our neighborhood and ripping my pants right off because they stuck to the freezing chain link fence that we used to jump over to take a short cut.
I remember a time when kids would walk to school the few blocks and not have parents pull up in some parade they call a carpool lane.
I remember when baby proofing meant a smack on the hand when a kid reached for a cabinet or hot stove. And a bump on the head meant "they won't do THAT again."
I remember a time when not only could you not pause live TV, you watched what was on when it was on. There were no requests. There were three networks -- pick one.
I remember when remotes had wires. Or worse -- you had to actually get up to change the channel.
I remember lying down in the back of the station wagon playing spaceship with my brother. No seat belts.
I remember when you could only call someone at home or work. And if they were on the phone, you got the annoying busy signal. If they weren't home, you tried again later -- no messages, just lots of ringing phones.
I remember when you liked a boy, you could call their house and hang up. No one saw your number and they certainly didn't hit a couple of digits to call you right back. (I apologize to the mother of the one boy I liked for six years of my childhood.)
I remember when a parent said no, it really meant no. And when they threatened to 'turn this car around,' they turned the car around.
I remember when time-outs were used exclusively in sporting events and kids were sent to the store to grab parents' cigarettes.
I remember when popcorn had to be cooked either in a designated popper or on the stove top. (Man I longed for Jiffy Pop.)
I remember when cashiers had to type in prices for grocery items and moms could finish an entire gossip mag while waiting in line.
I remember when you went on vacation, you were actually away from it all and couldn't be reached by cell, text or email.
I remember when people didn't want to get a call from work, they just didn't pick up the phone.
I remember when toys didn't have bells and whistles and our imaginations were necessary.
I remember when Lite Brite was high tech.
I remember when schools allowed things like Dodge Ball, thinking it built character and not damaged a child's psyche.
I remember how a girl could enter her teens playing with Barbies and not worrying about things reserved for adults.
I remember when childhood was simple.
What do you remember?
I wonder what our kids will be shoving down the throats of the generation after them. Will they be reminding them that cars couldn't fly and they actually had to physically go to school and not just learn by firing up the latest technology?
Should be fun to see.