When I was a child…

Family watching television, c. 1958

When I was a child there was no such thing as “family time.”

That’s because all the time was family time. The rest of the time was for school, visits with friends or extended family time.

Family was who you spent all your free time with. Family was who was there when nobody else was. Family time was all the time in a natural fashion that never really made me think about it until now.

Do you remember anything like this? You played with siblings, did chores for parents, did your homework at the kitchen table and most of the time couldn’t be found because you were outside… playing with friends and family.

Now we see commercials promoting “outdoor play” while playgrounds and parks stand mostly idle save for young mums with tots in tow who likely, once independently mobile, will likely discover the joy of computers, television or video games to leave the playgrounds a distant memory as many do.

Now we see advertisements for “family time” and “family dinners” as though they are the anomaly because … they… are.

They must be or we wouldn’t see these ads, would we?

When I was a child if we went to a restaurant and sat there engrossed in even so much as a book, we were told to close the book until we were alone to read. Recently I saw a family, an entire family, all the children and all the adults sit down in a restaurant next to us where they all pulled out their respective gadgets and save for placing their food orders which they never even thanked the server for, stayed fastened to their gadgets uttering nary another word.

When I was a child if we went to visit people, we did not sit there engrossed in a book or a gadget or watching TV. If we did, we ran the risk of getting a verbal clout upside the head for our rude behavior.

When I was a child and family or friends visited us, it was an honor. You shared your food, your time and yourself freely, wistful already when they left for the next time they would visit. Had we any gadgets to be preoccupied with, I’m sure the visitors would not have graced us with their company again. Not to mention the telling off we would have gotten from our parents.

When I was a child we never saw a proliferation of commercials for “activity” or “losing weight.” Come to think of it, we never saw food ads in proliferation either… Kraft foods is all I can really remember. Then again, we never saw a lot of television – we didn’t get the channel reception anyway or we were already outside playing – and that explains why what I did see is so vivid in my mind.

When I was a child we weren’t allowed to be publicly rude or dismissive of any person any time. We had to be kind first and if the person didn’t deserve our kindness, then we stepped back.

When I was a child the internet did not exist.

When I was a child, “family time” was not an advertisement.

(c) Aurora Morealist

(photo credit: Wikipedia)

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24 thoughts on “When I was a child…

  1. Though my life as a child wasn’t perfect, it molds well into what you describe above. Seems like so much has changed, and not all for the better. Wonderful post.

    • Thanks, Dave. Just thinking aloud this morning as I watch boyfriend “babysit” his gadgets: computer, cell phone and hockey games on tv. (the way we’ve spent every single weekend since hockey season started) It would be nice to do outdoor activities together, go for walks, talk more and this is what brought the piece to mind. Feeling a little unwell (jittery nerves I think with court again in a few days), lonesome and needing more times with actual human relations/interactions…

      • Ok. That explains your post today. It’s a shame that sometimes each of us can get caught up in our own world to an extent where we ignore those around, the most important things in the world. I can understand the hockey thing … I’m a big football fan. Lucky for me my wife is also a big fan so we spend time together enjoying the games. Bummer about court … never a fun thing. Hope it goes well for you … we’ll be thinking about you. Though the cause of your post is sad, the post itself was wonderful. Hope you have a better rest of the day.

      • Thanks, Dave, inch by inch I go lol. I don’t mind hockey, of all the sports to watch, it’s probably my favorite. At least I can follow it, lol. Court is another matter, just hoping for the best and so appreciate your kind thoughts. Happy weekend to you and your wife both :)

      • Oh boy, I wish but apparently they are just going to set another date… Hoping it is all settled soon as I am so in limbo in so many ways, it’s very challenging to manage all the challenges as well as the challenges of PTSD if that makes any sense, lol. Thank you for asking, will let you know as it unfolds :)

  2. The childhood scenario you have shared is one that I experienced to. When I was a child there were families and the family bond was a very close one. When I was child there was no “quality time” sloganeering because as you have described all time one spent with loved ones was considered to be quality time and most time was spent with we loved. Virtually all time kids were not spending on doing chores and homework or at indoor family gatherings was spent outdoors. Our parents had to compel us to come into the house not to get out of it! My parents chose not to have TV for many years and for this I will always be grateful. Every one of us kids loved reading and have passed the love of reading and writing onto the next generation.

    • Not sure why bu this was in spam so I just foudn it now. “Sloganeering” such a good word to describe so many things I think gone wrong with the world, why must we discuss kindness and paying it forward as though it is something new, great wonderful, etc when we should have been kind all along. Now in Canada we have ads promoting outdoor play. It’s ironic. We are said to be the most advanced civilizations and the quality of actual life diminishes daily, hostage to the electronic highways and byways…My mom wouldn’t own a tv and only had one when we were kids at home but even that was not hooked to cable so only every got a few snowy channels. Living on her own, she just wouldn’t have one. Books, she ate her way through daily. Was amazingly well read though many may not view her so. Her understanding of humanity increased so that she was much wiser much later in life and for that I am grateful. Thanks for your comment, see you again soon. Reading as and when my eyes let me, how I miss reading :)

  3. It would seem, the picture of family time you have penned, is one that I too can attach my ideals of family an the time which revolves around it: an astounding carbon copy. A nest of mice, country not urban, certainly not downtown metropolis micedom.To this day, KD is manna from heaven.

    • Wow… love the ideals… we are on par there for sure. City mice hold no intrigue for me, country girl at heart though currently living in the city, lol. Ah well, one day… haven’t had KD in so long… must get it sometime for a treat lol Thanks for the reminder and the visit, Hudson. See you soon :)

  4. Well done, writing a post about this. Couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said.

    I think the days are gone for kids to clear off all day, exploring their neighbourhood. The media have frightened parents into being too overprotective, so the kids spend loads of time glued to computers or on their mobile phones instead — that’s their idea of adventure. Then parents object, when those same kids arrive at the dinner table all de-energised with pasty faces. They pick at their food, have no conversation, and are all twitched up because they’re away from their gadgets for five minutes (or their gadgets are at the table with them, as you say). Of course, this isn’t how it is in all families, but it’s on the never-ending increase.

    • So well said! Now, if only the parents who have let this happen could read what you say and halt it before it goes too far… sigh… I really do worry that machines are dehumanizing us. Ah well, on to find a new cause to rise to, lol Happy writing, Sarah :)

  5. Astute observation. I think the notion of a “play date” is quite outlandish. We just got together and played! There was no falderal and checking of calendars involved. My, we make things complicated these days!

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