The Generation Gap

jennifer1by V.S.Nelson

All of us, at one time or another, has heard about generation gaps—usually from our parents who start off their lecture with, “In my day.”  This is not one of those lectures. I merely want to point out a few changes which have occurred in the younger generation since the invention of the home computer.

Those of us born in the 40’s and 50’s entertained ourselves on our weekends with activity—usually outside the home. Personally, I found myself doing everything from building forts to riding my bike. The time was spent with friends, creating new exciting imaginary worlds. By the time I was in the 5th grade, three girlfriends and I had enough supplies gathered in a friend’s attic to build us a house in the jungle, which was our ultimate plan. After watching a Tarzan movie with Amazon women we decided we needed to run away and join their community, or at least start our own and we had the gear to do it. Sadly, we never made it out of town, much less to the Amazon.

As we grew into our teenage years our ideas changed as did our activities. No longer riding our bikes for entertainment, we were now in cars, driving up and down the main street long into the night. We would stop long enough at the local A & W Root Beer stand to visit with friends and then do it all over again. If we were lucky, we spent Saturday nights at the drive in theater snuggled in the arms of our boyfriends. Of course privacy between two people was kind of hard when we were smuggling in five of our friends in the trunk of the car.

Weekend days were spent at the beach, surfing, swimming and having fun the old fashioned way.

This brings me to the point of writing this blog. For years I have noticed the increase of weight in our young. Not just our teenagers but adolescences in general have steadily gained weight. Personally I believe it is a combination of inactivity and the foods we ingest. With the invention of the home computer and video games, children are more content to just sit, either in front of a large screen TV or a computer, rather than go out into the world and experience it first hand. Look around any restaurant you frequent and you’ll see teenage girls with protruding muffin tops or boys who weight well over two hundred pounds.

Several years back, I said something to my stepson about going outside and making new friends. His reply was, “Got lots of friends, see I’m talking to them right now.” And there he was in a chat room for teenagers with all his virtual friends. Together they were on line, talking about the game of virtual football they just finished playing together.

Ok, this is all great and dandy and I myself am a gamer but come-on, these kids need exercise and playing fantasy football is not moving those legs or developing their abs. It is also ruining their eyes. Have you not read the latest statistics?  Look inside any elementary school class room. It use to be there was always one student in the class who wore glasses and sadly that child was teased relentlessly until later years. Now, our classes are filled with students who need help with their eyesight.

Another thing I have noticed is the decreased urgency in our younger generation where cars and driving is concerned. The same stepson I mentioned just recently received his first driver’s license at the ripe old age of twenty two. A grandson of mine of the same age has yet to even attempt to get behind the wheel. “Why bother learning to drive when Mom will take me where ever I want to go,” seems to be the mind set for a large majority of our young males. Females on the other hand are still eager to head off to the local DMV and get that license which gives them the freedom to get away from nagging parents. You can read the official statistics in this blog .

Thank you for reading my ramblings on our current generation gap. I would love to hear your comments and your experiences with your children.



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