3 Things That My Daughter Will Never Understand

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You know how each generation always says about the next, “In my day….”

Yeah, that.

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…”



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  1. says

    I lvoe this post!! I remember waking up early to watch Saturday morning cartoons and never missing an episode of Saved By the Bell! I hate most of the shows on Disney because I feel like the kids are all smart a**es and the parents are idiots. And don’t get me started on primetime shows!! Everything is either flat out about sex or there’s all these sexual undertones. It kills me! We really did have it good when we were growing up. I remember watching the Cosby Show & The Wonder Years as a family and it was awesome!

    • says

      Yeah, times are just so different! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the raunchy TV for myself, but I don’t want kiddo to see it! LOL

      • says

        Oh yeah I too love some raunchy/racy TV but I don’t want my 9 year old to be sitting next to me asking me…”what did they mean by that” and all I can do is laugh/blush!

        **I do have a DVR so I record my raunch & watch when the kiddies are asleep! Lol!

  2. says

    As much as I enjoy On Demand, I have great memories of going to Blockbuster with a girlfriend and deliberating for 45 minutes over which VHS to rent for our sleepover. “Kids these days don’t know what they are missing” *said in my best old lady voice*

  3. says

    Great post! I thought the same thing about the Cold War when I watched Indian Jones with my 15 year old recently. It was one of the “whoa” moments. Makes me wonder what changes my daughter will see in her life and what she will tell her children about when she says “i remember when”….

  4. says

    I love this post too. The TV programming really gets me. I was born in ’89 and even since I was growing up, things have changed SO much and not for the better. My husband and I are debating about completely doing away with our satellite and instead sticking with an antennae and Netflix. It scary what kids can and will see just on the “regular” channels though..

  5. says

    This was hysterical. I’m from your mother’s generation. I remember when my grandmother talked about riding in a stage coach when she was only five. Now, the super-rich can buy tickets into space.

    • says

      My grandparents still talk about how excited they were when they moved into their first house that had indoor plumbing. LOL!

  6. says

    So true! My son will be 20 soon, and he has a grasp on some of those things because I was old school and took forever to get on the bandwagon for cell phones (he had to be 16) and netflix (we just got it last year, lol)…but he has no appreciation for movies like Red Dawn and what they were based on. He made me feel old when he was a kid and asked how a rotary phone worked…sigh.

  7. says

    Oh wow. This struck a chord with me: “My daughter will never learn the patience of waiting.”

    My daughter will never understand that either. But thinking about this more, I’m not sure I still have patience. Just as my customers expect answers from me, I find that I want things more immediately now more than ever. The internet has made me want and expect things a lot quicker and social media has provided a place where I can go for customer service problems long after the phones have been shut off. I think this is a real problem with our society.

    Great post! This is my first time here. And I know I’ll be coming back!

  8. says

    LOVE this — wow; I hadn’t stopped to think how different things really are. I mean, you think about things like the cell phones, ipod, etc. . . but I hadn’t realized how little family-friendly shows are on mainstream channels. And the Soviet thing? Hadn’t thought about having to explain that!

  9. says

    My kids will never know any of this either. I’ll be 30 next year and about a year ago my oldest (now 7) felt the need to ask me what something was in a movie she was watching. Turns out, it was a corded phone!

  10. says

    Oh my goodness, I have a lot of the same memories you do and I have caught myself getting ready to say the exact same things to my kids but I stop myself before it flies out of my mouth. Hopefully I can remember to keep doing that until they’re a little bit older and will fully understand what I rant about LOL Now my husband on the other hand has no qualms about saying it and he does it about once a week.

  11. says

    I feel really old. lol. I so feel ya regarding appropriate TV programming. It’s crazy. I have a nine-year-old, and I know for a fact he has seen and heard things on TV that I was a teenager before knowing/hearing them. It’s sad, really.

  12. says

    I hear you on appropriate TV! You are for sure right there. As far as the other two? I think that she will learn to understand the cold war if she gets her hands on a good book or a great teacher. Plus thanks to Drs. offices she will learn to wait! 😛

  13. Andi says

    Great Post!!! But seriously – old at 34??? What does that make the rest of us who remember watching the first rocket into space on black and white TV; when WQAM was the ONLY radio station with Rock n Roll – the corrupting work of Satan according to my parents; or having bomb drills at school during the Cuban missle crisis. Oh and our parents thinking boys who wore their hair touching the tops of their ears were “queers”!!!! Seeing a bra commercial on TV would cause my mother to jump up and turn off the TV even though she would be wearing only a bra and shorts herself (because of no a/c)! No wonder my generation turned to sex and drugs in the 60’s!
    It’s all relative and someday your daughter will wonder about her daughter as you are doing now – can you imagine what her issues will be by then? :)

  14. says

    I was thinking about this the other day. Things our kids just won’t get, because they’ll be irrelevant to our current lifestyle. Whereas w/ our parents we could still understand they’re “old” stuff, they won’t get it.

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