Saturday, October 6, 2012

A New-Fangled Childhood

The closest I can get to enjoying the History Channel is the show "Pawn Stars." Taking place at a pawn shop in Las Vegas, people bring in their relics, antiques, and other random pieces of history to be pawned or sold. On an episode tonight, a man brought in his 1965 Erector toy set, and he and the shop owner reminisced about the toy while lamenting the downturn of children's toys today. The owner said, "Children don't know how to play anymore... that's what's wrong with the damn world today."

I hear so much about how times have changed (and they have), and how children and their childhoods are suffering as a result. Toys aren't the same, imagination has dulled, and experiences have become more "synthetic" in the face of technology. These are the claims.

As a parent in this age, it leaves a real unsettled feeling in my gut. We believe that our kids can have a great childhood despite the changes, and last time I checked, there are no bombs falling outside our doors and we live in a free country. There are challenges, there is more than enough room for improvement, and there are many things that I wish were better/different.

But if things are so horrible now, then how come no one told my kids? How come they are having a great childhood and enjoy their "new-fangled" toys just as much as climbing trees or running through the sprinkler? They don't seem to think they're missing out, just as I don't think I missed out in my own childhood. It has been (for me), and will be (for them), a wonderful cloud of memories to take into the rest of their lives. We still believe in childhood.
Here's to childhood.

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