Those Days Are Gone

Donetta Sifford

     Tis' the season for asking for gifts and of course wanting the newest technology, the more expensive the better.  It is Christmas time and I love this time of year but some of the things that even my own children want make me cringe a little.  I have my oldest daughter at age 10 talking about Ipads, touch screen phones, and anything else her friends have.  Even my youngest, age 6, was asking why she couldn't have a cell phone.  It makes me think back to the way I would roll my eyes, or want to in my home growing up, to hear that horrible speech that begins with "when i was your age........"  Yet, I find myself talking to my children about, you guessed it, when I was their age.  Looking around at all the technology in the world, that I am using now myself, I do miss the simplicity of my childhood and also wonder if kids today could survive without a phone glued to their ears, or even some adults?

     I was born in '76 which had me growing up in the 80's and early 90's when the images in our minds of 2012 were too far ahead to grasp, and sadly enough, we aren't riding around in space cars like the Jetsons.  I do think life was simplier then, especially Christmas.  I remember when The Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage and I remember I did not get one for Christmas the first year they came out.  Was I a bit envious of my cousin who had received one?  Of course I was.  However, my Christmas gifts were special to me and this was not the beginning of a downspiral of self esteem and anger for me.  

     I loved every year receiving the newest barbie doll and it warmed my heart when my 6 year old told her PaPa last night on the phone that she wanted a new barbie for Christmas.  Though I think the answer was more because of lack of sleep, and her mind couldn't think of another answer at the time.  I know that in my house growing up, we had one phone in the living room, hanging on the wall with rotary dial and a cord that didn't reach to the kitchen door.  I think my aunt had one put in her bedroom when I was around the age of 10.  I also know that there was nobody I urgently needed to talk to at that age.  Honestly, even if there were, we didn't have call waiting or three way talking, or even a caller I.D.  

     My days weren't spent sitting in front of a television either watching one of the 100's of channels or playing a vidieo game until my eyes burned.  We had three stations, the days when Saturday morning cartoons actually made cartoon watching special.  Which also made The Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon even more special during holidays.  When I did get a game system, it was an Atari and my game playing was limited to Pac Man on a small black and white t.v. that was purchased for that reason only.  I don't know how I survived without an X Box. Actually, I do know.  My time was spent outside all summer with friends, or being an only child, my imagination.  Winters were spent constantly rearanging Barbies hair and clothes or lining my Pretty Ponies up for a parade.  I also read a lot, which is still an important hobby of mine today.

     As Christmas quickly approaches and those days of my childhood are stuffed into photo albums and my memories,  I am thankful that my girls do appreciate a wonderful book as a present under the tree.  I smile that my 6 year old truly will be happy when she opens a new Barbie.  Of course they both receive a new tech present each year.  My 10 year old will be getting her touch screen phone from her father and a tablet from me.  My 6 year old is getting a Nintendo DSI XL from her father and a television from me.  I just hope that I am able to instill the importance of creativity and reading into their lives and also the fact that a lot of children won't receive much at all.  I want them to grow up knowing they can survive without the newest Playstation 3 games and that Christmas, along with every other day, is more about what you give in life, than what you can get from others. 

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