Kids today have lots of stuff we never had. More options might make life easier. More options don’t make life simpler. I don’t know where the prefect balance between easy and simple lies, but there are simple pleasures from my childhood I hope my boys can still experience:
When I played Little League, we won some and we lost some. Consequently, we felt happy after some games and dejected after others. Either way, a pat on the head, a soft ice cream cone, and an hour of swimming it off put the game into perspective as a minor piece of our lives.
Today, we seem to have taken competition to extremes. In one corner we have Ma and Pa Jockstrap. They can’t keep their spittle out of the umpire’s face because they will not allow anyone to stand in the way of Little Jimmy Jockstrap’s ascent into the Hall of Fame, regardless of Jimmy’s average skills or even his lukewarm desire to play the game.
In the other corner, handing out trophies to every kid in their zip code, are Mr. and Mrs. Overprotective, who fear that the loss of a T-ball game will rob their four-year-old of the confidence he needs to be just exactly as successful in life as all of his peers.
Nobody else can make you better than you are; nor will life allow you to be a winner every single day.
Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like it is no longer necessary to learn arithmetic in order to do math. I’ve never owned a graphic calculator; I don’t even know what they do. But I once was real friendly with graph paper, also with protractors and compasses. We didn’t have any math beyond basic calculus in my high school, but we could handle this (+) and this (-) and these (x), (÷) with pencil and paper, or on our bony little Hillbilly fingers. We didn’t need Excel to add columns for us.
Nowadays, if a kid can do basic addition in his head, they put him on Good Morning America so everybody can gawk at his freakish talent. I hope my sons learn basic arithmetic because I want to hang out on the set of The Today Show. Besides, (and I’m just doing the math here in my head) there may not be enough money in the back to school fund for graphic calculators.
Lime flavored stuff:
Back in the day, green lollipops were to die for. Whenever you put some kind of green candy into your mouth, you knew you would be rewarded with a robust lime flavor. There used to be things you could count on, and one of those was that green equaled lime.
Lime is the Latin of flavors now, a rare novelty to the tongues of the modern world. Some companies (I’m looking at you, Starburst) have cut green pieces out of their original lineups altogether. Others have replaced lime with off-green flavors like sour apple and watermelon – flavors that make a mockery of the color. I go out of my way to find popsicles that include lime among their flavors. I do it for my boys. Because a world without lime might as well be a world doused in strawberry syrup.
What things from your youth do you hope your children will experience?