I was walking down the hall and someone almost ran me over! It was someone not paying attention to what was in front of him because his mind was on his cell phone message, or text, or something to do with his gadget.
My thoughts go back to when I was growing up. I’ve lived enough of life now to be able to think back. Knowing that there is far more behind me than in front at this point reflections come more easily.
I was fortunate enough to live in a neighborhood where there were a lot of kids around my age. Depending on the season we played a variety of sports. Baseball, football, basketball, and street hockey. On the bus coming home from school someone would be organizing a game. Richmond’s field football four pm, can you be there? Since we probably got home at 3:30 it didn’t leave us much time to linger around. We played tackle football without pads and we played for hours at a time. Nobody really taught us the fundamentals of everything like they would today. In fact there wasn’t any grownups involved, just kids playing games and enjoying it. Today everything is organized and adults are involved in the games. When my son showed an interest in basketball he wasn’t lucky enough to have a neighborhood of kids that would get together and play like I did. He was shown the proper techniques at camps from people paid to instruct. That is all good and fine but we didn’t have that in my day. We just had kids playing ball together because we loved the games. Somehow as simple as it was it was enough!
Today I’m hearing that we have a problem with obesity with our kids. Back when I was a kid we didn’t have video games. I have a news alert: Playing video games does not burn up many calories! During the summers it wasn’t unusual when I was a kid to play ball most of the day. If we weren’t playing ball we were playing kick the can or some other game! We entertained ourselves back then and somehow we got by and maybe we were a little healthier for it!
Back then there was more of a trust. My parents knew that I was out playing ball and gave me the freedom I needed. When I told them where I was going they could trust me to know that is where I would be. Back in the day we didn’t have cell phones, 100 channels to watch on TV, microwaves, computers, or the internet. We actually sat down together and had a family meal. I remember times where we would take a watermelon to the park and eat it at a picnic table. It was simple and yet it brought the family together. My mom was home with us. My dad provided our household financial needs. It was comforting knowing that mom was always around. She kept the family together day to day on the home front.
Don’t get me wrong, I like technical advances as much as the next guy. I enjoy getting on the internet, and using microwaves, cell phones, and watching 100 plus channels. Yet for all of these advances I sometimes wonder if we have advanced at all. Are we so wrapped up in our little computer world that we are missing the important things in life? Should there be danger signs “cell phone zone” put up for our safety? Do we get so wrapped up around a TV set that we lose focus on effective communication with our family? I wonder if kids today get so amused with the computer that they have more computer friends than friends they actually see and play with? Most of all I wonder if all of these advances have brought us closer to God or taken our attention away from him? If it has made our attention stray have we really advanced?
Thinking back to those days puts a smile on my face. What we didn’t have in “modern technology” we had countless alternatives that were real, alive and personable! I have so many good memories of friendships as we kept ourselves entertained. I have memories of my mom playing hide and seek with us when it got dark! I remember my dad and I watching football games, but at halftime taking a football outside and throwing it around! I have memories of games my sister and I created, making up characters and having them interact with each other! All of those things and so many more showed me I was loved and somehow it was enough!