The “Good Old Days” Start Now!

posted by Andrea | 05/19/2017
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Every year around this time, I start seeing all sorts of blog posts, Facebook memes, magazine articles, and “rants” from others who apparently think today’s youth are growing up in a horrible world and wish to time-travel back to whatever decade they feel was “the best” in order to re-live the “good old days” when life was simpler, people were nicer, schedules were slower, and everything was better.

You know… the days when kids apparently played outside ALL day long, never bothering their parents except for a bologna sandwich on Wonder Bread for lunch — which they ate with dirty hands and washed down with water from the hose. Then they went back to playing unsupervised with various neighborhood children until it was too dark to see; all the while, their parents had no idea where they were and didn’t really care because everything was safe and all their neighbors could be trusted.

Have you read those types of posts before? 

They annoy me! 🙂

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In my personal experience, almost everyone I know from a different generation looks back on their own childhood memories with rose colored glasses, remembering mainly the good old days and how much better everything was “back then” — whenever “back then” was.

I’ve heard my grandparents tell my parents how their own childhood was simpler and better than when my parents were growing up — “Our parents never had to bring us anywhere, we just walked or hitchhiked.”

I’ve witnessed my parents tell me how much simpler and better their childhood was — “We left with the neighbor kids in the morning and didn’t come home again until we saw our porch light come on at night.”

And I’ll be honest, I’ve even caught myself thinking similar thoughts about my childhood versus my children’s childhood —“When I was younger, I just enjoyed playing community sports. Now days, everyone seems to do club and travel sports that take up their whole lives.” 

Isn’t it awesome that our memories are naturally inclined to remember the good over the not-so-good when it comes to childhood!

Yes!

Of course there are aspects of today’s culture and today’s youth that are very different from previous generations — but every single generation can complain about this. It’s called progress (a.k.a. CHANGE — and change is difficult for a lot of people). However, America did not grow to be the greatest nation in the world because we were satisfied and never ever wanted anything to change.

Also, I’m 100000% positive there are SO many aspects of life today that are vastly improved over previous generations due to this progress and change.

  • More safety features in homes and cars
  • More awareness and resources for neglected children, abused women and children, the elderly, veterans, etc.
  • More efforts towards proper sanitation, clean water, and knowledge about how germs and diseases spread
  • More resources, support, and accommodations for those with mental illnesses, physical limitations, addictions, etc.
  • More ability to communicate with, and travel to, friends and relatives around the world
  • More access to information, education, and resources to help us help ourselves

I could probably list hundreds of examples if I had the time and energy!

The point I want to make is that our world really isn’t all that horrible – certainly not exponentially worse than any previous generations.

Yes, there are things I would change if I could, and aspects of our culture and society I think could be better — but most if it is out of my control.

I’m convinced today’s youth will grow up into fine adults who can fend for themselves, live on their own, and make a decent life for themselves (despite what all the blog posts and magazine articles try to scare us to believe).

And you know what, in 20-30 years when our little kiddos are raising their own families, I wouldn’t be surprised if they think back to their childhood and remember how “simple and carefree” life was back then.

Our children will be just fine — even if they drink filtered water from their very own BPA-free water bottle, eat organic chicken nuggets with freshly sanitized hands, have pre-planned play dates and educational field trips, and are carefully watched by their parents wherever they go.

Just as in every other generation before us, we love our children and want to give them our version of “the best” — whatever that is at our current stage of life.

And just as in every other generation before us, our children will most likely remember all the good times they had growing up… and how much better their childhood was than any other generation.

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So as you gear up for another summer of fun with your kids — don’t let those ridiculous blog posts, magazine articles, or Facebook rants worry you.

You are doing great… and I have a feeling your kids will remember their childhood as “the good old days”, just like you remember yours!

Just for fun… what are some of YOUR best childhood memories?

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19 comments

  1. Debbie W.

    05/24/2017

    Thanks for this, Andrea! I needed it today! My two oldest are teens now, so I find myself worrying a lot if I’m doing everything to make sure they are able to function as the adults they are so quickly turning into! And, yes I admit to occasionally wishing we were back in time. But like you said, I remind myself that it wasn’t always perfect “back then” either. Every generation has had its challenges to overcome and every parent has had their fair share of things to worry about.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I have a feeling they will be fine — especially if it’s already a concern of yours. That shows you are very active in their lives and wanting the best for them. And yes, every generation has challenges!

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  2. ShellyL

    05/24/2017

    Agree. Great post. Had to comment on James’ sweet little old man face!! So cute. What was he making a face about?

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    Andrea Reply:

    that was last summer already — I think he was just being silly and enjoying the ice cream cone 🙂

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  3. Jill

    05/20/2017

    Amen sister! Period.

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  4. Debbie

    05/20/2017

    My best childhood memories would be exactly like you shared. We lived in the Philippines then and our neighbors were cousins, aunts, and uncles. My friends were my cousins and we will play in the streets until we heard my mom call for us because it’s dinner time. Then when we moved away from all that to the US it was such a challenge to only get to talk to our relatives once a year on the phone because long distance calls were expensive. Now with FaceTime, Facebook, Skype we are able to share each other’s lives again without much difficulty. I would say in that sense today is better than the past.

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  5. Jenny

    05/19/2017

    I get what you are saying, Andrea. The older I get, the more I’ve witnessed and experienced- and
    the more I see how drastically the world has changed. Some for the better, and some not, as you pointed out. My young teenage grandsons live in a totally different kind of world than we did, and I wonder how they will survive their teens and adulthood!! They seem content. They don;t feel they are missing anything because they never experienced it. Their parents do what they think is best, I guess. I remember when younger, thinking about how “old people” always think they know more, things were better back in the old days, etc. And now I am that person! Although I try not to say it like that except maybe to other “old people”! I am probably about 30 years older than you. I hope to keep reading your blog for many years and will be interested to observe as you get older!!

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  6. Alicia

    05/19/2017

    Thank you so much for this post!! I admit I often find myself depressed by everyone’s views of the world . I don’t truly believe it’s all that bad, but I do let it get to me ! And when you’re raising kids who will be a contributing part of the next generation, it definitely does not help to hear these constant negative points of views. Thank you for this post and perspective Andrea, it’s SO refreshingly positive.

    My favorite childhood memories are of our annual summer road trips and weekend camping trips as a family. They are truly the best part of my childhood.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I always think it’s so odd when people tell me, “I’m SO glad I’m not raising children in today’s society” — WHILE I’m standing there with all my kids. Honestly, how am I supposed to respond to that!

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    Alicia Reply:

    EXACTLY!!

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  7. Eliza

    05/19/2017

    A post after my own heart! A neighbour of mine is always complaining about how evil everyone’s intentions are, and I find it hard to listen to. I am sad she feels this way, but I also truly believe if you look for evil, you will find it. If you look for good, you will find it. And I also believe the good outweighs the not-so-good.

    I often hear my friends say how they would play outside until dark, too, and honestly I remember doing a few times, but I think we have exaggerated how often we did that. That is not say I didn’t have a great childhood – remembering my childhood gives me great joy – but I think as you say it’s easy to remember the good bits.

    My best childhood memory is donuts with my mom. I used to drink all the milk cups (those tiny things used in coffee) much to Mom’s embarassment.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I agree with everything you said — including the “exaggerating” part (even I do that about the good parts of growing up!)

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  8. Dawn Kaestner

    05/19/2017

    I love memories of sitting by the radio, tape recorder in hand, waiting for my favorite songs to play so I could make a mixed tape. My teenagers will never get to / have to experience that. But I am also grateful that I can just tell my Google Home to play a song and have it instantly appear!

    [Reply]

    Michael Reply:

    I still have all my mixed tapes!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yeah… I did do the mixed CD’s when I was in high school — but yes, it’s much easier to just Google it and find your favorite songs immediately!

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  9. Jen T

    05/19/2017

    I agree with much of what you have said in this post.

    That said, having a HS freshman and senior, along with knowing several kids now in the job market, it is TERRIFYING how unprepared a lot of these kids are for college and even the real world after My mom worked for a university and the calls professors would get from PARENTS are not isolated incidents. It’s bad.

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  10. Mara Yager

    05/19/2017

    Once again, so well said Andrea! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! Couldn’t agree more. Hope you are feeling well 🙂

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  11. Amber Woods

    05/19/2017

    Andrea,
    I have always loved this picture if Nora eating Watermelon. It is so cute!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Me too!

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