I’ve been thinking about how insane things feel right now. It seems you can’t say anything, do anything or be anything without someone being offended. Bullying. Cyber Bullying. Exploitation of kids, women…black lives matter, blue lives matter…shouldn’t everyone matter?
For the past few nights my daughter has been crying because of a hoax that was going around on social media. She didn’t even know about it until the news media reported it, showing pictures (that quite frankly, scared the crap out of me!) and kids at her school started talking about it. Now she doesn’t even feel safe in her own bedroom, and has been crying herself to sleep.
What is this world coming to when innocent children are being targeted?
I wish my children could have grown up like I did. In sheer, blissful ignorance.
I try to shelter them. I try to shield them. No social media. No Instagram or Snap Chat. I limit their game playing. I am all-in as their mom, not their friend. I don’t care what everyone else is doing. I birthed them. I worked hard for it. They’re mine until I deem they are no longer babies…which may happen eventually, someday, I’m sure.
But today’s world has got me missing the world I grew up in. Little things I took for granted. I remember when music was something we listened to on the radio. You know, that antiquated thing that doesn’t really exist anymore; the kind of radio that you had to walk around, holding it up…down… until you finally got the perfect clarity. It had a metal antennae, and actual knobs that turned, only you could never figure out where on the dial you were. On weekends, I’d listen to the weekly countdown with my tape recorder and press “record” as soon as I heard my favorite song, hoping the stupid deejay wouldn’t talk over the end of it, which he always did.
And the television had just a few stations. 2, 4, 5, 7, 38 and 56. Saturday morning cartoons were the highlight of my week, and I remember getting up early, grabbing my Cocoa Puffs and running to the sofa for a whole morning of Tom & Jerry, Scooby Doo, and the Wonder Twins! And once the channel was selected, there it stayed. No remote.
It seems everything was simpler then, easier. If you wanted to play with your friends, you went out, knocked on their door and asked them. You didn’t text or Snap…and you’d come home when the street lights came on.
Sundays were church and family. That was it. Nothing else on a Sunday.
Every Sunday we’d go to church, and then drive to my grandparents’ house for a big Italian feast. My grandmother would dance around the kitchen with her wooden spoon, and sing to my grandfather, while she stirred her sauce. He’d act like it bothered him, but then he’d wink at me and I knew he loved it just as much as I did.
While dinner was cooking, my cousins, brother and I would go exploring. We’d be gone for hours, walking along the water’s edge, going to the park or the general store. We sang. We talked and laughed. We picked flowers along the way, drank soda & ate cookies before heading back and feasting on pasta, meatballs, chicken cutlets….and two plates were never enough for my Nana. If you didn’t go back for 3rds, she was insulted.
Times change. It’s inevitable. I get it. And some of the changes are better – great even. But there’s too much noise now. Everyone has an agenda. A sense of entitlement. What happened to working hard for a life you create? No false expectations. Nobody else doing it, earning it for you.
We’re all rushing it seems – rushing to the next thing. And what are we rushing to, anyway? What is so important, that we can’t slow down to say hello or smile at someone passing on the street. Are we so jaded by the news that we can’t simply smile? We’re on our phones, Bluetooth, or tablet…we’re rushing our kids out the door, rushing our folks to downsize, rushing our lives away. Why?
Growing up, the days went by so slowly, and I felt like I’d lived a lifetime in that one, single day. I’d spend hours laying on the grass and looking at the clouds, or running barefoot, feeling the grass beneath my feet, and tickling my toes. I’d ride my bike, I’d play kick the can or walk to the ice cream store and back, with my friends.
I’m sure these days will become my children’s “good old days” too but somehow I feel like they’re missing out. Missing out on a childhood like I had. I want so desperately to recreate it for them.
So we unplug at dinner. We sit as a family for meals. We talk. We listen. We lead through example. Provide unconditional love and support. And we pray.
And we hope the lessons we’re teaching our kids will be remembered as they navigate their way in this world.