I recently had a conversation with my 6 year old about what my life was like when I was young and I was struck at how surprised he was to discover that I didn’t spend time playing video games or watching Nick Jr. He couldn’t comprehend that those things didn’t exist back then as they do today. In fact, I had to explain how back in the age of the dinosaurs, we didn’t own a game console let alone three different ones like he has. My parents didn’t let my brother and I have the Atari or Nintendo games that were popular in the early 80’s. We had just bought our first home computer, which was bigger than a microwave, and we played what limited games were available to us on that.
What also blew his mind is that we spent most of our time outside, playing all over the neighborhood under the watchful eye of NO ONE. I quite enjoyed telling him about the days when kids would play games, ride bikes, and use their imaginations from morning until evening at which time our parents would drag us inside for 30 minutes of “family time” a.k.a dinner, and then we would race back outside to resume a highly competitive game of monkey in the middle. His disbelief grew while I regaled him with stories of running around at night playing ghosts in the graveyard or flashlight tag with the neighborhood kids. He certainly can’t do that now, especially in Detroit. I’m guessing the experience might be a little different.
I’m pretty sure the memories I shared with him were understood as if they were fairy tales or like a storybook that we read to him before he goes to sleep. They were good times though, simple and real. However unfortunate it is that my son and his generation will miss out on those types of experiences I know he is creating his own memories based on what we provide him with. They may be very different, but I am confident that they will be just as sweet as my own.
The trip down memory lane was an unexpected pleasure that left me feeling amazed that I survived some of what I did and thankful that I was able to do those things. If you have a chance today, give yourself some time to remember what you were like as a child, who you played with, what you did. Here are some things to think about to get the ball rolling. I hope this makes you smile!
1. What was your favorite board game?
2. Where were you allowed to ride your bike?
3. Who did you play with the most?
4. When did you have to show up at home so your parents wouldn’t ground you?
5. How many trees did you climb?