You know how each generation always says about the next, “In my day….”
Each generation has its own thing, I get it. I am a Generation X kid. I was a child in the 80’s and a teen in the 90’s – in case you missed that post where I talked about turning 34 last month, yeah, I’m old. Whereas the generation before me (my parents) had free love, Woodstock and LSD, my generation had Grunge, AIDS, the invention of the cell phone, and we watched in shock and disbelief as the Challenger exploded on national television. We watched a President make a speech about cheating on his wife, we cried as we watched the Twin Towers fall on 9/11.
My daughter? She was born in 1997.
Her generation has been raised on the internet and smart phones. Whereas we had Madonna, they have Lady Gaga. Whereas I poured over Teen Beat and Sassy, the only magazine my daughter has ever read was a hairstyle magazine that she bought when she decided to cut her hair.
Whereas we had slam books in middle school, she has Facebook.
The world has changed drastically in the 15 years or so since I found out I was pregnant. In most ways, the world is better, and she leads a richer, more educated and connected life.
But there are some things, things that I feel are very important, that my daughter will never understand. Partly because too much time has passed since they occurred, and partly because the world has changed so much that there’s simply no point of reference.
My daughter will never understand The Cold War.
It occurred to me while we were watching an old Indiana Jones movie a few years ago that the subject matter was completely irrelevant to her. She just didn’t get what was going on. What the heck was a Soviet?
I tried to explain the USSR, Communism, the Bay of Pigs, etc…and it fell on deaf ears. As a history buff, it drove me nuts that something so important to world history wasn’t interesting to her – how could she not care that the United States was at one point in danger of being nuked? Because she was not around during a time when there was a threat – however small – she just could not wrap her head around the idea that someone may have even tried to do collateral damage to the United States.
It’s kind of hard to strike fear into the heart of a person who finds out about nuclear war 20 years after the fact.
My daughter will never understand what appropriate TV programming is.
When I was growing up, we had wholesome family programming on prime time television. We had Silver Spoons, Different Strokes, Family Ties, Full House, etc – and at the end of every episode, we learned a valuable life lesson. There was always a moral of the story type ending. There was no nudity, no sex, no cursing – do you remember how the audience swooned when Zack and Kelly would kiss on the cheek in Saved By The Bell?
My daughter? What does she have on prime time television? Two and a Half Men, with their constant talk of prostitutes and venereal disease. She has Two Broke Girls, with nonstop dialogue about sex and illegal drugs. She has Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23…casual sex, drinking, partying, etc. It has gotten to the point where my husband and I have to watch shows first to see how bad they are before we let her watch them on DVR.
My daughter doesn’t think words like bitch, damn and ass are swear words because she hears them on television All. The. Time.
My daughter will never learn the patience of waiting.
When I was my daughter’s age, if you didn’t see a movie in the theater (which we didn’t do very often), you had to wait almost a year to go to Blockbuster and rent it on VHS.
Yeah. Blockbuster. VHS. VCRs. We are talking old school. There was no NetFlix, Hulu, OnDemand…well, there was PayPerView, but that came about during my teens and was mostly World Wrestling Federation matches and Boxing.
Now you can watch a movie OnDemand sometimes while it’s still in theaters, and if you miss your favorite television show, instead of making all of your friends tell you everything that happened step by step, you can just watch it on OnDemand the next day, pull up a pirated copy off YouTube, or watch it on Hulu.
And waiting for a single to be released from your new favorite band? Waiting in line at the record store to buy tickets to a concert? Sitting with your finger on the record button on your stereo, waiting for the DJ to play the song you requested so that you could tape it?
Nope. My daughter just opens up YouTube, Pandora, or downloads her new favorite song off of iTunes.
You know how I know I am getting old? Because I’ve started saying things like, “When I was your age…”