Childhood - Then and Now

Childhood - Then and Now
I spend a lot of time pondering the evolution of motherhood. I imagine mothering during the days of Little House on the Prairie. I think of my grandmother and what it was like for her to raise three boys in the 1940’s compared to raising my three boys (and daughter) today. I consider the changing priorities, values, and issues throughout the various eras of motherhood.

When thinking about the transitions motherhood has endured over the years, we don’t have to look far to take note of all the changes. Most of us can look to our own childhood to see vast differences between then and now.

Car Seats There just weren’t any car seats when I was growing up. We didn’t even use seat-belts for much of my childhood. Remember the back seat of the station wagon – facing backwards? Sometimes, we’d just sit in the “back-back” with the seats folded down and roll around with each turn of the car. My mom tells me that when I was an infant, I’d roll off the seat and onto the floor. Thud. Can you imagine?

Car Doors Speaking of cars. I realized one day that my children don’t know what it’s like to roll a window down. Let alone open a car door. We’ve had minivans (four children), and their doors slide open. When my daughter was exiting through the driver’s door the other day, she had to ask me how it opens.

Nurse’s Office I remember being sent to the nurse’s office in elementary school. The nurse would call home and – if no one answered – we’d lay down on the cot until she could get ahold of someone. In the beginning of my school years, we didn’t even have an answering machine (or call waiting). Today, we are afraid to let a cell phone call go to voicemail.

Note Passing Our children do not have an appreciation for the art of note folding and secretly passing them when the teacher’s not looking. They text. Even when they are hanging out in groups, they don’t talk to their friends. Can their phones store all the love notes we used to cram into a shoe box? I think they are missing out.

Phones Our children do not appreciate the ability to walk around while they are talking on the phone, let alone the privilege of taking their phones with them wherever they go. The experience of the rotary phone, the phone booth, and the calling card will never be known by our children.

Encyclopedias One of my favorite sources of entertainment when visiting my maternal grandparents was flipping through the encyclopedias. I liked to look at the dogs and the fish and discover new animals – like the chinchilla. I see Encyclopedias on the shelves in my children’s school – but do they know what they are? Or are they just a source of sentimental decoration?

Indoor Play Areas First of all, most of our play took place outdoors. We roamed the neighborhoods, going in and out of friends’ homes for most of the day. When we did venture indoors to play, we headed to the local roller rink for a special outing. Today, our roller rinks have transformed into indoor trampoline parks, rock climbing facilities, and playgrounds.

Photo Albums
How many of your children have put together photo albums of their memories? How many of them have scrapbooks of their lives? I think most of our children, from here on out, will have Facebook photo albums since we are all so excited to share their milestones and achievements with everyone we know.

From Walkmans to iPods and black and white televisions to 3D, HD televisions – the worlds of children change on a daily basis.

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You Should Also Read:
Motherhood in the 1800's
Parental Guidance
Unrealistic Expectations of Moms

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