Thursday, August 07, 2014

A Child Of Our Times
Jill McClelland

How bored the children of today would be with what we had as children. We were very happy with our small amount of toys – the war stopped anything too fancy from coming to New Zealand. I had a sleeping doll that I hated because her eyes clanked. A black-board and chalk created hours of fun and a skipping rope and hop scotch were the norm. We learnt nursery rhymes and had fun skipping to them. We biked to the local library and got out books. There was no car in our household until I was about 9. I actually didn’t meet my father until I was 7 as he had been overseas for 4½ years. Of course I did meet him but had no recollection of it. It felt quite strange when this man came to live with us and to tell me what to do – I didn’t think much of him.
Today the children have very different expectations – play stations, TV, cell phones, every toy under the sun, mountain bikes and very often 2 cars per household. Holidays each year, flying on planes and going on ferries. Being taken to fabulous zoos and fun parks. Learning musical instruments, being in choirs, orchestras and so on. Clothes are much better if they have a label. I wouldn’t have known what a label was as my mother made most of my clothes. Sandals with the toes cut out when they got too short for growing feet and hand-me-downs from cousins a bit bigger then me, that was what war time children got.
With the likes of the Warehouse and Pumpkin Patch most children are outfitted in the latest gear and certainly know and want to be in the fashion.
I can’t really think that they are better off than we were. In fact I think it is a much harder time for them with a lot more pressure to keep up with and have better than their peers.
Also the food outlets tempt the children and they want to have these treats whereas we didn’t even know about such things and there weren’t the obesity problems then that there are today. We rode bikes or walked to school and it was very unusual for a child to be driven to school – today it is the norm.
Naturally children have to move with the times, as we do, but I just can’t imagine what the children will expect in another 20 years.
Let children be children and have fun racing in the park and playing ball with a dog. Swimming at the beach in summer – making snow men in the winter, these healthy things don’t change.

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