A lighthearted look at a few teen generational changes

Time travel always makes for lively discussions. What period in history would you like to visit? I’m not all that interested in time travel in a machine because I enjoy my traveling via the couch and a good book; however, listening to this generation talk about what they think are hardships gets me thinking about how much can change in a generation!

When I was a kid living out in the country, my family didn’t have a VCR to watch VHS tapes. In fact, we only got seven local channels on good days, four guaranteed. I remember going on a French Club trip to visit Montreal, Quebec, and the Canadian Niagara Falls, and discovering how many channels we could get on the hotel television. I couldn’t believe how many channels city folks had. My family didn’t have video games, but in high school a friend did. We’ve come a long way since Pac Man. People have gone from X-box and Play Station to playing on a phone or online. When I met my husband, his family had satellite television. Now families can have cable or Netflix and DVRs.

We wrote our papers long hand, neatly in cursive. My mother had a manual typewriter that I used sometimes. When I went to college, my parents bought me an electric typewriter. I loved that typewriter, and I wore it out before graduating and had to borrow my brother’s. After that I bought an electronic typewriter; it was so quiet. My husband and I were out shopping for a rocking chair when we were expecting our firstborn, but we came home with a computer instead. Kids today do not understand the stress of writing long research papers with footnotes and white out. It was tricky toward the bottom of the page especially if there was a mistake. How many tears and outbursts did you have when you had to retype the page because of an uneven bottom line due to a mistake? No, I thank God for computers. They save time and don’t require white out. My first printer had perforated paper. Now we don’t need to tear our pages off.

We didn’t have the internet or e-mail. When we wrote research papers, we had to use the card catalog and search the library stacks for our resources. We had to use dictionaries, telephone books, encyclopedias—in book form. Now days you can use a search engine and have all sorts of information without even leaving the house.

When I was in high school and college—even newly married—our telephone was hooked up to the wall. I remember rotary phones! In fact, I think my parents still have one. There were no cell phones. Our parents had to call wherever we were to find us. Remember pay phones? When my husband and I were dating, we wrote letters (gasp), and they came in the mail which took days to receive. Now, kids can email, text, Skype, FB message, tweet, use Instagram, and all sorts of other social media. Of course, we could talk on the phone, but that got expensive because we had to pay for long distance. Kids today have instant communication. Sure you may be miles apart, but you can gaze upon each other’s beauty, and it doesn’t cost any more than your cell phone or internet bill.

When I was a kid, I had to use a map. Today, we have GPS, and many have that on their phones.

I guess I’m starting to sound like my parents talking about how hard it was when I was a kid. At least I didn’t have to walk miles to the one-room school house in the winter snow or spring rains or use an outhouse where I had to be concerned about bees. If this much has changed since I was a kid, I wonder what it will be like when I have grandchildren who are teens.

Well, I’m thankful for the new technology. If there were a time machine, I think it wouldn’t hurt for kids to write a report using the card catalog for research, type it on a typewriter, and talk on the rotary wall phone. Then maybe they’d be in awe of my former hardships. LOL

What other changes can you think of?

4 thoughts on “A lighthearted look at a few teen generational changes

  1. I think kids today will be worse off, not having to do all of those things, and always having *instant* gratification. Hey though…love that retro look 🙂

    1. You are right that there are educational opportunities lost in the current instant searches. I had to look a long time to find that retro picture! Thanks for writing. 🙂

    1. I’m glad that fond memories were brought to mind. It doesn’t seem that long ago in some ways. 🙂 May God bless you and your family as well. Thanks so much for writing.

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