I’ll admit I am less than patient and say things I probably shouldn’t when my girls mourn their dropping internet signal…from a moving car. I have to remind myself, though, this is what they know. This is the adaptation and conditioning of new humans to the world they were born into. The very definition of evolution. I have, though, at times caught myself summoning up lectures in which I played with a stick when I was little…😒 And, for realsies, I did.
The experience of childhood has changed. So much. So drastically. But, I am part of the camp that does truly see this as a societal evolution. Not so much that our children’s future is collapsing in on itself like a dying star. The world changes. And we change with it. So do our children.
I spent a great deal of my early childhood being bumped around after school while my parents worked. The best and, at times, worst of those years were spent bussed out to the country to my Godparent’s home. A large Catholic family with more kids than they could keep track of, I suppose. Their son Sean and I would spend the evenings in make-believe in their woods and miles off their property where there was a literal tar pit. No one wondered where we were for hours. We made a lean-to where we would hide from cars and distant neighbors. Pretend food from woodchips and leaves. Making up our own adventures. We wrote plays of mysteries we solved while in the forest and had this “great idea” that an audience could follow alongside to watch. Brilliant! We drew up programs and everything. We could never convince more than our moms to break the secret circle and come watch but we had fun acting them out regardless. And these were great times.
This morning, my kids and I replayed events of yesterday’s school pickup. A day where I retrieve Joey from her class line at the bell and walk her to an afterschool drawing class that she takes all year. I was five minutes late. Five minutes. As I rushed by, her usual class escort grabbed me and said that they were already calling for her…on the walkie talkies. From where she stood a ways off with her teacher, walkie messages and hand signals were flying like mad and she was scooted straight to me like she was on fire. On the way down the hall we were stopped by the cleaning lady. The cleaning lady. “You got an art student there, you better hurry! GO! She needs to go straight there after school instead of waiting for you!” We get to the room and all the children start screaming from their seats, “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!? WE COULDN’T FIND YOU ANYWHERE!” I felt like I’d been late for surgery. Surgery! Well, you get the point.
Anywho, the joke this morning was “Geez, did everyone survive you being late yesterday!? The world didn’t implode in those five whole minutes!?” I told them both that *in my day* after the bell rang, the teachers didn’t know what happened to us. We just…left. “They went home, I guess“. I said if we didn’t show up for school in the morning no one was calling to check up on us. Today I have a five step information chain procedure I have to go through when they will miss school. And, so help me, if we’re running late or absent and I forgot to write. I have until 9am on the dot until administration starts asking questions.
In the 80’s there were no afterschool programs. Period. Not in my neck of the woods. We had bikes and cap guns. *crickets chirping* It is no stretch to say we had to make our own fun. And find our own way. But the world has changed. And parents and children have changed with it. This fall Joey will carry on with her drawing class for the third year. She wants to be an animator so, who knows. This class may end up the kickstart to a fulfilled life story one day. She will also be old enough for Coding for Girls. Which she’s been signed up for since February. For now, she spends her time on animation programs, and writing little video game side scrollers. Building contraptions out of anything she can find. This is her future. Hopefully one day all of it will come together for her.
The world changes. But our experience of it does not. Whatever it may be. Our children have dreams just as we did when we were adapting to the changing world around us. Like it or not, things are very different now. But so are we. This is evolution. When she is grown, my daughter may not love coding video games and drawing like she did when she was little. The world may require twenty changes of her between now and then in order to adapt. That will be her experience. Her childhood memories. So different than my own. At the same time, not so much. Experience is relative, after all. But I will always, always love writing in the woods. And adventuring…so there.
I’ll close this out with the book that sparked this memory today…and my absolute favorite quote from Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Which isn’t entirely that far off, my friends.
Hope this week finds you all well!
“In my day we didn’t need *moving pictures*. In my day there was only one show in town and it was called “STARE AT THE SUN!” That’s right! You’d sit in the middle of an open field and stare up at the sun till your eyeballs burst into flames! That’s the way it was AND WE LIKED IT!“