Times have changed, but not all for the bad

Published 4:40am Sunday, June 29, 2014

By Dr. James Troglen

Things have sure changed. A few months ago my grandson got a skateboard and not only a skateboard but a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads so he could ride it.

It made me think a bit about when I as a child – boy I have become my grandfather.

Someone call me some help fast!

Oh, well.

Things were different and maybe some of you can identify with the following.

As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.

Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon.

We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar.

And we weren’t overweight.

Why?

Because we were always outside playing…that’s why!

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 OK.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them 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 Play Stations, Nintendo’s and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no 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 those accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms, and mud pies and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, 22 rifles for our 12th, rode horses, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and – although we were told it would happen – we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League 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.

Teachers kept order one way or another, either by talking to you, paddling you or both.

Then when you got home you got it again from mom and dad!

Did some of those make you smile?

I hope so but, I am also glad things have changed kids do things a bit safer now and I am glad we have the new car seats for kids.

I like 150 channels of TV as it gives me more to do when I surf the set. So, some change is not all bad is it?

Yet some changes are not for the better. Kids are more easily bored today and socially I think they are a bit off. There is not as big a sense of adventure in their lives and imaginations seem a bit stunted.

Still, I often wonder what they will say when they are my age and writing a column like this.

I hope they remember their childhood as pleasantly as I do.

Yes, things have changed but my the ’50s and ’60s were great weren’t they?

Gotta go, Leave it to Beaver is coming on.

 

Dr. James Troglen is pastor of First Baptist Church of Wetumpka.

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