“You cannot catch a child’s spirit by running after it; you must stand still and for love it will soon itself return.” Arthur Miller
Remember the days when we used to go outside to climb trees, run around and play? Not much of that happens of late. I remember idyllic days spent reading books, playing tag and communing with nature. Technological advances had not grown to the extent they have today. We had TV but didn’t watch it much. We had telephones but all were landlines and endless phone chitchat was not the norm in my household. We didn’t have computers, smartphones, microwaves, the internet and instant everything… Portable and social media were not on the radar, yet we had full and productive days filled with learning opportunities.
All of that has changed; some for the better and others quite questionable. What advantages do our kids have today that differs from what we had as children? For one, the technological advantages are incomparable. Our children live in a virtual, global world that gives them access to tech toys, digital media, wireless communication and real-time news reports and learning opportunities. This is good, however, the flip side of it is that they/we are now all plugged in 24/7 to our tech tools and toys. One on one, face to face conversations seem awkward. If I can poke you on Facebook or SMS you on my smart phone, why do we need to meet outside and play? Do you spend much time wondering how all our gadgetry is impacting our quality of life?
“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” Aldous Huxley
Another advantage our kids have is in the world of science and health. New scientific advances and health research have given us more options for care, more treatments for diseases, and the greater chance to live longer. Over the years, our life expectancy has continued to increase; especially for women. I was having a chat today at an interview, and one thing that came up was the fact that our children can and will live longer. 70 is the new 40? We are aging better, eating or learning to eat better, and habits that were once considered ubiquitous, like smoking, are no longer acceptable.
This scientific/health advantage is also a good thing… with some reservations. The flip side I see to it is that we must find ways to sustain our global economies, make healthcare affordable, do ethical medical research, contain our carbon footprint, keep our water paths clean, develop better ways to process and grow our foods organically, and do whatever it takes (without impinging on the rights of others) to ensure our children inherit a world that is viable and safe. Unless we take care of these issues, our longevity could quickly become a curse. What are your thoughts? More below.