More technology today, but is that better?

Family Frolics
By Jnnie Lundgren

While talking to my daughter the other day, she said, "Mom, my friend’s car is not like dad’s. When you want to put the windows down, you have to turn this thing around and around and around." And then it dawned on me … my daughter had only known automatic windows on cars. I am going to turn into one of those people who will start every story with: When I grew up ….

For example, when I grew up, there was no such thing as automatic windows or keyless entry or air conditioning in cars. We had no seat belts and I use to ride in my family’s pickup truck in the back when we left for camping. No worries though, I had built a nice little nest of blankets and pillows right behind the tons of camping gear and coolers that were lined up around me. Perfectly safe unless dad needed to slam on the brakes as we drove up north! And yet, I survived!

When I grew up, we did not own a VCR. We use to have to rent them along with the movies so if you invested that much into movie night, you stayed up all night long watching any thing you could get your hands on! One of my first VCR movies was rented from the library. My friend was rich. She had a VCR in her home! We watched JAWS! I’m sure that was perfectly acceptable for a couple of 10-year-olds to watch, right? Again, our options were limited and it was free! I am pretty sure my kids won’t even know what a VCR tape is. We don’t even have one in our home anymore. And JAWS can’t compare to the aliens and zombies they’ve seen in movies.

When I was growing up, there were no remote controls. Later in life there were the cable boxes that had extra channels on them but you had to get off the couch, walk up to the TV, and turn the dial to get a new station. Or if you were smart, you perched yourself right in front of the TV so you could reach up and switch channels quickly. Who cares if it ruined your eyesight sitting so close to the TV? This might explain why I have coke bottle glasses. My uncle got one of the first big console TVs that came with a remote. It was more of a furniture piece than just a TV. In fact, I think it’s still sitting in their living room (with a new flat screen TV sitting on top).

When I was a kid, there was no Internet. There was no Wii, There was no Playstation. There was this wonderful game system called Atari and it had these joysticks that gave you tendonitis just playing with them, but what did we care? We were playing video games in our house! Yes, never mind it was Pong and moved at a snail’s pace. Doesn’t that sound like fun?! We sure thought it was. And Pac Man and Donkey Kong were just around the corner.

When I was growing up there were no cell phones, no text messaging and no way of contacting your parents all day long. My mom never set up a play date for me but somehow, there was always something to do. I have listened to my kids tell me how bored they are already. They have more technology and friends and interests than I ever had. Maybe the key is to have a little less? I’m suddenly starting to think my kid is spoiled because she doesn’t know about windows that roll down!

‘Course there is technology I wouldn’t give up either. I am kind of partial to air conditioning in my house, especially after our last heat wave. I love my microwave since I’m not such a good cook. And I’m pretty glad we moved on to CDs instead of all those cassette tapes (or far worse … the 8-track ones!). But I’m guessing all the real hip, cool people have moved on to iPods and blu-rays. I’m just thrilled to have a laptop! I think it’s good to have access to all our wonderful technology, but I’m also glad I got to experience the days of a little less electronics. And if we get desperate enough, we have a closet of board games, you know … for when the electricity goes out or the zombie apocalypse happens. Always good to be prepared!

Jennie Lundgren is a local mother who enjoys small town life with her family in Norwood Young America. From time to time, she shares her adventures in Family Frolics.