Kids These Days!

As a parent of two daughters, I find myself becoming exasperated when the girls don’t understand a reference. It’s usually something generational, something I know they’ve never experienced yet I find myself expecting them to understand simply because they’re my kids. I guess I expect them to automatically know everything I do. 

Kids these days don’t know what it’s like to have to manually roll down a car window. Now it’s the push of a button and voila! fresh air and the ability to speak to the drive-through attendant of your favorite fast-food joint. I remember back in the day, if I was alone and had to reach across the car to manually roll down the passenger window; how exhausting! What kids today would suffer if they had to exert the effort to roll down their car windows by hand! 

Kids these days don’t remember when getting a job meant going from business to business, filling out applications by hand. Finding a job by signs in the windows indicating a position was open. Always making sure to be dressed appropriately because if you were lucky, the manager would conduct the interview once they’d had a moment to glance over the application. And, of course, almost all the time you’d know right away whether or not you got the job. 

Kids these days don’t know what it’s like to use a rotary phone. The agony of mis-dialing and having to start over again. And the cords on the wall-mounted phones! I don’t remember the exact length of the cord on our old mustard yellow rotary wall phone, but it was long enough for me to go from the kitchen to my bedroom for privacy. The cords were always twisted and kinked so I spent at least five minutes untangling the cord so I could stretch it that far without mishap. 

Kids these days don’t know what it’s like to watch television with rabbit ears with tin foil “caps” that you had to adjust every three minutes when the picture went all static-y. And with only three channels to choose from, and no remote to change those channels. And the knowledge that if you missed an episode of your favorite show you had to wait until reruns to hopefully catch it again. And since the television went off the air at midnight, falling asleep while watching TV meant waking up to a screen filled with static. No waking up in the middle of the night and watching old television shows until falling back asleep. 

Kids these days don’t know what it’s like to go to the grocery store, hoping you’d remember everything on your list. Or that you brought your list. There were no cell phones for family members hoping to catch you before you left the store with “Will you pick up …” messages. I think I forgot fewer groceries before cell phones because I paid closer attention to my list and what I needed before leaving the house. 

While there is a lot that kids today don’t know about, there are also things that they are lucky to know. Kids today will always have the ability to stay in touch with family members and loved ones. Technology will continue to advance and improve and kids today will benefit from those advancements. When I was a kid, there were no computers with Zoom or phones with Facetime to reach out to long-distance friends and family. I used to think how fortunate it was that we could travel by car to see my grandparents in just a few hours, especially when I realized how many days it took our ancestors to visit family before cars. Today kids can at least see and hear their loved ones when they communicate via computer or cell phone. 

Kids these days have access to all the information they need at their fingertips. While I miss using an Encyclopedia, it is easier for kids today to gather information without relying on those bulky, heavy tomes. The ones that needed to be updated every year but who could afford to constantly buy new ones. 

Kids these days are able to attend the college of their choice remotely, which cuts costs and allows older students to have access to a college education at their convenience. Who needs to worry about rotary phones, TVs, or manual car windows when kids these days show the world tolerance. Kids these days recognize the value of diversity. Kids these days are showing the kids of yesterday that having a voice is a valuable commodity. Kids these days are letting the world know that everyone matters and their experiences matter. Kids these days are pretty amazing. 

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