Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Changing Times

Our grandchildren get to do things we never had the opportunity to do. Even our children didn't have those opportunities.

When I was a child, families were about eating meals together, kids going to school or playing and parents--well, just were parents. Maybe families with more resources than we had went on elaborate vacations, but most of the people we knew visited relatives on their vacations. My great-grandparents had a farm, but all I remember about it was a chicken pen that my little brother, in his white suit investigated.(Why in the world did my mother dress a two-year old in white?)

We took rare vacations with our girls. I remember a trip to Six Flags in Dallas, a camping trip in the Gila Wilderness and a vacation to the beach in Galveston. Other than that, our family visited relatives, our kids went to school and played and we were just parents. We had lots of neighborhood get-togethers and holidays with family.

Today's kids have so many more opportunities. Jaiden has been to a farm, stuck her hand in a goat's mouth (I still haven't done that!), watched a horse being shoed (I haven't seen that), been on a Disney cruise (I was almost 70 before I went on a cruise)and a myriad of other adventures. Our five Leachman grands take trips with their parents and friends to elaborate water parks and have been on numerous vacations to Disneyland, San Diego and places I didn't visit until I was an adult.

Taylor in Las Vegas went skiing and to Hawaii before he was ten years old. Maybe earlier than that. Our California grands who are teenagers traveled with us to London, Paris and Dublin.

The world is smaller and the opportunites greater today. Yet, I imagine there are families now who don't go on vacations with their kids, who don't take them to farms and theme parks or camping. They may not eat meals together either.

Is it because those activities didn't exist until the recent present? Or is it because kids have become more a part of the family's life than they were in the past?

Ideas change. Maybe, in this fast-moving, computer age world it takes more to interest kids. All that is fine with me. I just want to see our kids come out of childhood with good values. Those values can't be learned in theme parks, but they can be taught there if their parents are willing. In fact, they can be taught wherever the family goes.


  1. Such good wisdom for families today! Something as simple as eating a meal together a few times a week could do so much for families. You are right, we have more opportunities today, but we fail to take advantage of some of the ones that matter most!

  2. Baby Girl wants to go to Disney World. My son is obsessed with going to Mexico. Hubby and I met Mom, Dad, brother and his wife there a few years back and had an amazing adult time. In a week, we are going back with Hubby's best friend and significant other and my best friend since 3rd grade and her husband. She's never seen the ocean before, I can't wait to see her face when she first looks out into the ocean blue. Little Man is complaining a little. We tease that he can go too when he pays for it. Although hubby and I laugh, he finds no humor. I've argued we are doing him a favor getting away, we'll come back happier, nicer parents. My parents took adult trips to Barbados, Hawaii and more but also took us skiing, to Disneyland, river rafting, the Grand Canyon, and to the beach. I'm so thankful for the chance to take my kids to the beach in Florida, to ride ATV's in Hot Springs and go snowboarding every year in the Rockies. A couple of weeks ago, Hubby took Little Man to Branson for a Motorcycle Rally and we went last weekend to Little Sahara for more 4-wheel'n fun. On the other end of the spectrum, my husband, to this day, resents only taking trips to visit relatives each year when he was growing up. He doesn't consider those as real vacations even though the trips to his mom's side of the family were to Hawaii. I remember my dad being so flustered driving us to the Grand Canyon and through the Painted Desert while I camped out in the floorboard of the van playing dolls not caring a thing about seeing the sites. Three years ago, the shoe was on the other foot as Little Man and Baby Girl played their game boys and watched TV as we drove through Biloxi seeing firsthand the destruction of Katrina and then on to New Orleans, a modern day ghost town. Although as a kid I didn't show much appreciation for all the cool trips we took, I now treasure those memories of all us together just like I hope my kids will one day. We do eat most meals together (although not home cooked I'm ashamed to admit) and meet grandparents for dinner a couple of times a week. As far as values go, that's a definite work in progress and some days I should be fired.