Changing Times…Changing Childhood

Posted: May 2, 2019

Childhood is an unforgettable time of our life and the memories we make at that time remain etched in our minds forever. When I see my 9-year-old fooling around, wandering about carefree, not worried about the next moment, I sit back and think how things have changed from then to now.

Extended screen time, expensive toys, video games, lavish holidays and junk food dictates the child’s life. Though I do see a bit of myself in my little one, there is certainly something amiss, that I had as a child.

Life was much simpler then. We didn’t have too many things to worry about and pressures to cope with. We had fewer demands and were content with whatever was offered to us. Not that we didn’t have a childhood full of excitement and fun.

We valued money and led a disciplined way of life. Thanks to my father being in the Armed Forces, there are certain things that were instilled in me as a child and still remain with me and I am proud of that.

My strongest memories of a little girl date back to a time when I was about the same age as my son. A timid and shy girl, I had a protective attitude being the older of the two children and always tried to shield my little brother. As a girl, it was obvious that I had an inclination towards dolls and my interests tilted toward making doll houses, dressing up my Barbie or standing in front of the mirror, all decked up with moms sari draped around me, lipstick smeared on my lips, and admiring my little self.

Not only this but things like tiptoeing to the kitchen when mom was taking a nap in the afternoon, cycling around with friends, sitting on the stairs listening to ghost stories, running to the pool for a dip in the water or just playing a game at a friend’s place…these were the things that consumed most of our time, and the remaining time was to catch up on studies . These simple and sweet experiences have a special place in my heart and I do yearn for that time every once in a while.

Today things are different.

TV, mobile phones and tablets have taken over centre stage and consume most of the time. As kids, I remember watching TV only for an hour or so and that too under strict instructions from my parents. Play-doh, LEGO and play stations have replaced Enid Blyton and Tintin. Writing letters and pen friends are bygones and kids text each other to keep in touch. There is an exponential change in the way of living and it’s getting challenging day by day.

Kids of the new age are used to a more sophisticated way of life and cannot settle for less. With digitisation, nuclear families set up and dual income, demands have gone up and are met without any vehemence. The experiences we had as children are very different from now, everything is at the click of a button and kids don’t want to take too many pains.

To cite a simple example, my son loves building stuff, thanks to his boyish interests. One day while he finished building one LEGO project, I asked him, “what would you do next?”
He replied cheekily, “Oh ! I’ll just get another one.”

I was amused at how casually he said that and added further, “Do you know how much it costs?”
“Yes, I know! It’s just 2000 bucks and I know you can get me another one soon.”

I was shocked by his reply and wondered how easy it was for him to imagine that. Blame it on his childlike innocence or that he could not fathom the fact that it took a lot of hard work to bring in that money so that we would fulfil his demands, but because children these days have such easy access to everything that the value has depreciated multifold.

What worries me is whether my son is creating the same wonderful memories of his childhood with the changing times and complexities of life, the memories that rekindle the little boy in him every once in a while when he grows up or is he too engrossed in the rat race that the childhood that I lived is not even remotely visible in his days of growing up.

Image via Pixabay

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