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Childhood Ain't What It Used to Be.
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1843
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:25 am    Post subject: Childhood Ain't What It Used to Be. Reply with quote

I found the following post on Usenet, of all places. (Usenet is not really known for any kind of depth.) Anyway, even though it's expressed in a snarky way, some of it is arguable, and -- no doubt -- looks at things with rose-colored glasses, I found myself smiling and remembering:

Quote:
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE KIDS WHO WERE BORN IN THE 1940's, 50's, 60's and 70's!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a tin, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a van - loose - was always exciting and great fun.

We drank water from the garden hose or tap and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cakes, white bread and real butter and drank cordial with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......

WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem ..

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, No video games at all, No 99 channels,No Pay TV, No cable, No DVD movies or surround sound.

It's crazy! We even had

No mobile phones, No text messaging, No personal computers, No Internet or Internet chat rooms.........

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke Bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We played with worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

Made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we didn't poke out anyone's eye.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Local teams had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all!

And YOU are one of them!

CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

and while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with your eyes shut holding a pair of scissors, doesn't it?!


P.S. And then someone said:

Quote:
We can add to the list:

We were bullied as kids and none of us considered going home to get a semi-automatic to blow away the bullies. We all grew up okay.
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Kass



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 722
Location: under a cockatiel

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

--Um...not in my house, we didn't. My parents made sure everyone who rode in their cars buckled up.

Quote:
We ate cakes, white bread and real butter

--Um...again, not in my house. We were a natural foods vegetarian household. Why would we eat crappy processed white bread?

Quote:
We were bullied as kids and none of us considered going home to get a semi-automatic to blow away the bullies.

--No, but I wished they'd all step in front of cars and die and spent years thinking there was something wrong with me because everyone hated me in junior high and high school.
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Gail K.



Joined: 19 May 2007
Posts: 1292

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know what I did as an a 8-year old?

Well, back then, neighborhood kids knocked on doors and asked other neighborhood kids to come out and play, see. So I very happily hopped on my bike once and followed these older kids around as they devised bike "challenges" for themselves. Ended up hurtling down a big downhill street and falling flat on my face, on the cement ,as the wheels of my bike spun out on a patch of gravel. Broke half my permanent front teeth and my parents had to be called home from work to meet me in the emergency room (some other kid's mom took me). Not to worry, my parents knew a good (but expensive) dentist. Can you imagine kids having childhood accidents like that today?

Also, my parents allowed me to go to as many sleepovers as I wanted to - where we got up to all sorts of nonsense - and didn't background-check my friends.

-Gail


Last edited by Gail K. on Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Cora



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 1129
Location: Bremen, Germany

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a child, I lived within line of sight of my elementary school. It's maybe a five-minute walk, no dangerous roads to cross. My Mom walked me to school for the first two or three weeks of first grade, then I told her, "It's okay, Mom. I know the way and can go on my own." And she let me. And my Mom was considered one of the more cautious mothers. Other kids lived further off and would still ride their bikes to school, unaccompanied, even though they had to cross busy roads or ride along busy roads with no separate bike lane. And they somehow managed to do that without getting themselves killed.

Nowadays, when I visit my parents (they still live in the same house), I see their neighbours walk their children to the same elementary school I went to every morning and pick them up again every noon. And those kids are in the third or fourth grade.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1150
Location: Elsewhere

PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was born in the 1970s and grew up mostly on an Israeli kibbutz. I lived in a children's house from a very young age, and we were on our own constantly and generally were up to no good Cool . Once a week they'd give us half a bar of chocolate (healthy!) and let us loose in the early afternoon. We'd go exploring in the woods or build little camps to play in. Parents today, I'm guessing, would be too concerned about snakes, injury, pedophiles, terrorists, or all of the above. But we had a fantastic time.

I ate junk food at school, drank pop cans on a regular basis, drink from the tap, rode without a seatbelt, and not only did I play with mud, as a toddler I certainly ate mud and grass. So yes, I basically did almost everything on that list (except my mom never smoked) and as others have suggested, it seems to have done no harm. Very Happy
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2508

PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We caught snakes in a nearby ravine with a creek; kept them in match-boxes. Played kick-the-can under the streetlights until those with curfews--very few--were called in. I was a latch-key kid and never thought a thing about it. Because my dad was on strike, both he and my mom worked, so I got myself to school (at 9 a.m.), had an hour for lunch, which I fixed for myself, and had little or no adult supervision after school for several hours. I learned to take care of myself, to feed myself, even to wash and iron clothes if necessary, to be independent. Good training.
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LizA



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 140
Location: Austria, Europe

PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A similar list circulated here in Austria and Germany a while ago.... while I agree with some of it, I might add that my parents taught me to belt in from the start (and they were among the first to use a children's seat in their car). One of the clearest memories of my childhood is the horrible accident of a family we were friendly with, where the children did not all wear seatbelts - half of the family died. Made a big impression on me so I am not all that nostalgic about that!

As for the tab water, I still drink that. Of course, I am fortunate that I live in an area with excellent water, but even apart from that, I strongly feel that Plastic bottles are wrong....very bad for the environement!!
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Cora



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 1129
Location: Bremen, Germany

PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Up to the early to mid 1980s, the cars my parents drove usually didn't even have seatbelts in the backseat, though my parents made me buckle up whenever there were seatbelts. And while my parents claim that I had a child car seat, I cannot remember ever sitting in one, which means that they only used it until I was two at most. Plus, one of my earliest memories is sitting on the backseat of my Dad's car and being hurled forward during a sharp brake maneuver to bump my head on a fire extinguisher that was mounted between the two front seats. That means that by that point I was no longer in a car seat and obviously the car didn't have seatbelts in the back. Compare that to today, where children as old as eight are still made to sit in child seats.

Regarding water, I do drink tap water (we have good water as well), but I also buy bottled mineral water. However, I only buy mineral water in reusable glass bottles. It's heavier, but actually cheaper than the same water of the same brand sold in plastic bottles. Plus, it tastes better, is healthier (substances used in plastic bottles can end up in the water) and is better for the environment.
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Audrey



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 194
Location: Alberta, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen this before and unfortunately, it combines things which may have done no harm and things which are truly harmful. Plus it says that somehow people that were born during these decades are better.

I'm not feeding my grandbabies lead paint, or leaving them unbuckled. The infant mortality rate in 1950 was one in seven, and now it's one in two hundred. Some of this can be accounted for by improved medical procedures, or whatever, but still one of the biggest killers in those age groups is accidents. So, for every six of us still around who didn't get killed, there's one who isn't around to celebrate how lucky they were. And, since I was born in one of the decades listed, I'm old enough to know that every generation has it's share of risk takers, problem solvers and inventors, and law breakers, cheaters and bums, too.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1150
Location: Elsewhere

PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Audrey wrote:
I'm not feeding my grandbabies lead paint, or leaving them unbuckled. The infant mortality rate in 1950 was one in seven, and now it's one in two hundred. Some of this can be accounted for by improved medical procedures, or whatever, but still one of the biggest killers in those age groups is accidents. So, for every six of us still around who didn't get killed, there's one who isn't around to celebrate how lucky they were.

Certainly lead paints are bad and it's best to be buckled in the car. But I think the overall point is that in many areas, we are overly cautious today with children - and by being so we deny them certain experiences that might be good for them in the long run (and that they might enjoy Smile ).

I'm not sure where you got your statistics on infant mortality rates but they seem really off. I was curious and looked it up online: The CDC lists 8.7 post-neonatal deaths per thousand as of 1950 (that's in the 28 days-11 months old category) compared with 2.3 as of 2002. The big drop was actually between 1940 and 1950 - down from over 18 to less than 9, or from about 2% to just under 1% (scroll down to table 1). I'm also confused as to what this has to do with childhood accidents. Isn't it true that when infants die it is usually due to illness, pre-existing medical conditions, sudden infant death syndrome and other medical issues? In Israel, where I live, the rate was 8.1 per thousand (same age group) in the first half the 1970s - mostly due to the causes I listed, and down to 1.8 per thousand for the first half of this decade (source: Central Bureau of Statistics). Of course every death of a baby or child is tragic - but at least in the second half of the 20th century and up until today, they are not and were not as common as you suggest.

I agree that we need to be careful and not expose children and babies to unneccessary hazards and dangerous conditions - I just think that the hazardous category has gotten overly broad.
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Nana



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 948

PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll add one more to the list:

"And yet somehow we grew up to be parents who didn't do ANY of this."

/snark
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LizA



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 140
Location: Austria, Europe

PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just read a similar "lament" in the newspaper, by a pretty snarky writer --- he added that when he was young, no women shaved her legs or under her arms (that was true well into the 80s here in Austria, and I am certain, in other parts of Europe as well)....

I do think a lot of people are over cautious with their children. At the same time, there seems to be little supervision of teenagers - it's an odd mixture, really. So parents will pick up their children from primary school (I always walked home by myself or rather, with the other children), but their teenagers will hang out in the mall all day after school. When I was a teenager (in the 80s/early 90s), I could not come and go as I liked. It wasn't that my parents were extremely strict or anything, but hanging out in the mall was not on. Nor would I have liked to do it - I still don't *get* why anyone would loiter around a mall! (well, I can barely bring myself to enter one, as it is)...
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1843
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I've seen this before and unfortunately, it combines things which may have done no harm and things which are truly harmful. Plus it says that somehow people that were born during these decades are better.


I see this list as being a bit tongue-in-cheek -- a reaction against the extra caution prevalent in some parts of society.

Just yesterday on the news, there was another story about an outbreak of childhood diseases that had been under control as a result of vaccinations -- in this case measles. Some parents are under the impression (false, in my mind) that their children are becoming autistic because of vaccinations. So, in trying to avoid that, they are risking their children contracting other diseases, and, in the process, putting others at risk too. These are parents who can't remember what it was like to deal with these diseases and so think they can be managed.

Another issue is the over use of antibiotics to the point where, in response, a super strain of bugs are developing that will not respond to the typical antibiotics we had been giving. Another issue related to this is the over use of antibacterial soaps, once again leading to germs that can overcome them. A doctor I know reported that his hospital is actually warning against the use of these soaps.

It's certainly good that we are raising our families in comparatively safer environments but, on the other hand, our children are not developing the immunities they once did as a result of that previous exposure. It's all a bit of a mixed blessing.

Adding another issue to the mix is psychology and perception. With the advent of 24 hour news, we are learning about every possible incident that occurs in the world, ad nauseum, no matter its relevance to us. We hear about a sexual assault in Oregon which is milked for all it is worth by the media and, as a result, parents in Florida are keeping their kids in doors.
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Cora



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 1129
Location: Bremen, Germany

PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LizA wrote:
I just read a similar "lament" in the newspaper, by a pretty snarky writer --- he added that when he was young, no women shaved her legs or under her arms (that was true well into the 80s here in Austria, and I am certain, in other parts of Europe as well)....


Personally, I blame the Americans for this whole war on female (and male) body hair. Because when I visited relatives in the US in the late 1980s, all the teenaged girls and young women were obsessively shaving their legs, which no German woman did at the time (some did shave their armpits, usually to reduce sweating). A couple of years later, the leg shaving thing came to Europe, then they started shaving elsewhere and then even men started shaving their chests and legs. A pity, cause male body hair is sexy.

I just hope that this fashion for the removal of body hair will pass soon.
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Kristie(J)



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1129
Location: Southwestern Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing that really strikes me in this post is the playing outside until the streetlights came on. We had a whole gang of kids we all played with - hide and seek, tag, baseball in front of the house, Red Rover - well you get the picture - all kinds of games. Now I rarely see kids on the street playing any more - and I think that is really sad. They don't know the hours and hours of fun they are missing.
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