The good old days..

were they that great?

I have heard, and read in various forums, discussions, both in the real world and the virtual world about how things were much better ‘in our time’. And this is not from older people, but also people from across generations. Especially when it comes to parenting.

I have heard people talking about how when they were young, they would play happily with sticks and stones.. and the thing is, that children of today do the same. Just because they have a bunch of fancy toys does not mean that they do not play with things like that.  My daughter is perfectly happy playing with pieces of string, pens and pencils long past their lifetime, pieces of paper, packaging from her toys, a blanket to pretend that she is a princess.. Yes, she also has stuffed toys and fancy stuff, which are used too, but the basic imagination that a child has, remains intact. They just use different tools to fuel their imagination. Even things like the TV, can be used constructively or destructively. The other day, I was telling Poohi about the volcanic ash. We were watching the images of volcanic ash on TV. Later she  drew a volcano – big clouds of ash – that was what she understood from what she saw on TV. It is fascinating to see how much the children learn from every little thing. And children find fun and joy in little things that totally escape us. That part of childhood, I think, is the same, across generations.

Another thing which I have heard of, is a blanket statement of how parents these days pamper children and do not ‘guide’ them. I find that a little difficult to believe. I see fantastic examples of good parenting around me. Children who are well behaved and who know the difference between right and wrong. Of course there are badly behaved children too   that is true of every generation, isn’t it? Am sure all families have their black sheep(in every generation)!  The way I look at it, every generation has good and bad parents. One difference from the time I was growing up, is the economic conditions. Yes, my parents were not as well off, as we are today. But that does not automatically mean that my child will grow up spoilt. As far as I ensure that she knows the value of money, she knows that throwing a tantrum will not get her whatever she wants, and knows that good behaviour will be rewarded, she will get a good grounding in life. And haven’t we seen badly behaved spoilt children while we were growing up?

People talk about how things were ‘simpler’. We did not worry about things like child abuse. But really? Isn’t that simply a case of ignorance being bliss? Aren’t we better off knowing than living in ignorance.

I really feel that in a lot of scenarios, nostalgia has a way of brushing away the unpleasant parts. We do tend to forget a lot of things as we grow older and things appear rosier than they were.

Yes, we did not call our friends before dropping in, but then most of us did not have phones at that time to do so. Now that we do, we think it makes sense to check if somebody is around before dropping in.

Every generation makes it’s mistakes, it’s discoveries, and times change, times move on. The basic nature of people does not really change, or at least that is what I think. I know people say that people were not ‘materialistic’ then. But then it is all part of the times, isn’t it? Especially in a country like India, where all of us want a share of the pie. Where the motivation to do well in life is so high, because of the competition that forces us to perform.  The advance in technology and the changes that it brings, lifestyles change, attitudes change, and every generation moves with the times. An earlier generation made do with family and friends in the neighbourhood, we make do with family, friends in the neighbourhood,  virtual friends. Every generation works with the resources that are available  and within the constraints that exist. Some do a fantastic job, some do a mediocre job, and some fail…