Today’s Kids Have Everything … Except Something to Do
Gripe, gripe, gripe. Poor little bored kids with nothing to do but video games, MySpace, or the worse possible fate of all … listening to the iPod as they text message several friends at one time.
The cost to “not be bored” is expensive too. When you add up a cell phone, satellite for the television, a computer with internet access, a game system with the most recent games, and an iPod and cost of tunes, the average teenager spends what an entire family used to live on comfortably for month. This “techno-advanced” generation has all the benefits that my generation never had as a child.
BULL &#@*!! I have never heard anything so ridiculous in my life. I am proud to say that I am forty-something now and I have been blessed to have lived in a simpler time. I remember listening to stories that my mom told me about what she did for fun when she was young, and I would think to myself … how corny. But now I understand that we are in an elite fortunate group. A group that was raised closely with cousins and family, who appreciated something just because it was new, and mostly a group that has many wonderful memories of fun, silly, and precious times. These are the times that cement our bonds with our kinfolks and give us a reason to smile just thinking about it.
These are some of my favorite “times” that I want to remember with fondness and appreciation simply because they lighten the mood, and bring about that longed for smile.
In strolling through a time that is not that far back I remember some of my childhood favorites.
- Does anyone remember all the cousins from small kids to teenagers playing outside together (and getting along) while the adults played cards in the house. We would divide up into teams evenly with the bigger kids and smaller kids evened out. One of my favorite games was Red Rover, Red Rover. It didn’t require any electricity and all you needed was enough space in a yard to have two lines and a short running space. We would all form a line and hold hands with the big kids trying to stay between the smaller kids so that you wouldn’t have a “weak link.” The side holding hands would all sing (yes … sing), RED ROVER RED ROVER send Tommy right over. At this point, the chosen person from the other side would run at full speed into the line holding hands hoping to bust through a “weak spot.” If he succeeded in breaking through he would get to bring a member of that team back to his. If the person didn’t break through then he stayed on the side holding hands. This went back and forth until no one was left on the other side.
- Another good game was this guessing game. I don’t really know if it had a name or not, but it was played like this. Again the teams were divided up evenly. The first team would put their heads together and come up with a strategy and then march toward the other team. BUM BUM BUM. Here we come, all the way from Washington. Team 2 would reply “where you from.” Team 1—from Pretty Boy Station. Team 2—What’s your occupation? … Get to work and get it done. After this comment Team 1 would act out an occupation with each team member playing their roles. Team 2 had three guesses. If they guessed it correctly Team 1 took off running back to base before getting caught. If they got caught they would have to go to the other team. If they didn’t guess it Team 1 got to choose someone from that team.
- The best is good old fashioned HIDE and SEEK. This was especially fun because very few houses had street lights and when it was dark outside it was really pitch black darkness with occasional light from the house. The hiding team would hide all over the yard and around the house, and sometimes even in the woods. (This was the “no fear” era.) If you were found you had to beat them back to base because if you were caught, you had to be on the “finding” team until the last person was found.
These games made for hours of fun in the daylight and dark. After playing hard for hours, this was usually followed by telling scary stories to see who could scare the crap out of the others. The stories would get worse and worse until some of the smaller kids would end up screaming and the adults would come out to see what was going on and remember that it was time to go home, or more often than not, just put everyone a pallet down on the floor to go to bed. Even then, we would lay there and talk about our families, what we were going to do tomorrow, or who we had crushes on, or just anything for hours.
This kind of day probably didn’t sound like much, but it allowed us to live our dreams through our imaginations and stay physically active because all the games involved running somehow. Most importantly it allowed us to develop a common bond with our cousins and family. Today, many teens and smaller children know that so and so is their cousin, but beyond that it means nothing to them. The technology that has been designed to improve communication and make more time for “family time,” has actually changed our family structure, and not necessarily for the better.