Dear Parents, Your Childhood Was Lame, Just Ask Your Kids

Jeanne Sager
22

pay phoneThere's one thing that every one of today's parents has in common: we love reliving our childhoods with our kids. Waxing nostalgic about what our kids miss out on is our version of our parents telling us how good we have it. And you can look no farther than my living room, where an '80s toy store threw up on Christmas morning.

But folks, there is such a thing as being too nostalgic. I say this to the Orlando Sentinel reporter (or the editor who assigned her) who spent an entire article mourning the end of "after gym class showers." Turns out kids today are as skeeved as we were to be stripping down, with all raging hormones and pimples, in front of their classmates. Honey, it's called deodorant. They're going to be just fine.

But with the '80s staring us in the face everywhere we turn (we could have done without the gawd-awful splatter paint neon shirts that have snuck their way off the pages of Tiger Beat and into a bona fide new trend), how about a little reminder of the other "fine traditions" we'd prefer our kids avoid?

White Bread: I stare longingly at the lump of enriched flour and carbs as I wheel my grocery cart over to the sticks and twigs that I buy for my daughter's lunch box. When I bite into a grilled cheese sandwich on wheat, the only thing she has ever known, a piece of my heart breaks off. Our parents never knew this stuff was like kiddie crack when they gave us our PB&J on Wonder Bread back in the '80s. Our kids will never face that same hunger for crap.

Pay Phones: Whine all you want about how kids seem to be getting cell phones younger and younger and what a travesty it is that parents are spoiling them, but do you happen to remember what it was like to stand in line for the pay phone after the yearbook meeting? Or heaven forbid you were out with your friends and the only phone at the mall didn't work! While your mom was building up steam that you were skipping curfew, you were the 14-year-old girl running alone across a dark parking lot trying to find another phone that worked. Yeah, those days were better. Sure.

Cassette Tapes: Wah, wah, our kids will never know what a cassete tape is. Let's face it: they're lucky. The sound quality sucked, and if your dad happened to leave your favorite Paula Abdul (cringe) album in the car stereo overnight on a cold day, you could say, "Bye bye tape I saved up my allowance for."

Encyclopedias: Your fifth grade social studies assignment on the State of Washington would have been a lot easier if your parents weren't still saving up for the R through Z volumes.

The Sunday Night/Friday Night/Saturday Night Movie: Once upon a time, the family had to wait for a good family flick to come on the tube until that one evening the only channel your rabbit ears picked up decided to show one. Today, we can call it up whenever we want on Netflix (on the Wii!), and that means Mom and Dad can make it pizza night round the coffee table in the living room whenever they feel like it. (Which totally makes up for the sticks and twigs bread).

Having to Actually Talk to the BFF You're Mad At: Remember the day before caller ID, when you refused to touch the phone in case it was Annie calling? You were soooo mad at her, and here your dad was screaming, "Would somebody answer the G-D phone already?" Your dad was so mean.

Secondhand Smoke: Remember when we got asthma because Mom and Dad didn't know it was bad to smoke inside the house? Yeah, we just had it soooo darn good, didn't we?

What old memory are you relieved to know your kids will never have to deal with?

 

Image via izik/Flickr

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