Reflections: The Kids Advantage…

“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

Reflections: The Kids Advantage...

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

Reflections: The Kids Advantage...

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. ;-)

“Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.” Henry Ward Beecher

Reflections: The Kids Advantage... Please Read a Book!

“Too many people grow up. That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don’t remember what it’s like to be 12 years old. They patronize, they treat children as inferiors. Well I won’t do that.” Walt Disney

A third advantage is in the realm of education and learning. While many schools continue to struggle to help children meet the minimum goals for each grade level, there are wonderful advantages that have come from the technological age. We have access to online/distant learning schools. We can read a digital book and visit online library archives to do research. Our exposure to a wider global community means we get information instantly and don’t have to wait for snail-mail to deliver data to us. New fields of study related to technology and its uses have evolved, and our kids can travel around the world and learn quickly without leaving home.

The downside is that we have become increasingly anxious about internet scams, identity theft and even our ability to check the veracity of a piece of information gleaned off the ‘Net. So with all the advances and opportunities comes the requirement to be vigilant and to triple check information we gather to ensure its accuracy. With ipods, iphones, ipads, laptops and all that makes us technologically savvy, I’d still encourage our kids to pick up and read a book, meet a friend for some fun time, invite the inner child out to play, and take regular breaks from the pressure of being so plugged in… Now, if longevity matters to us, periodic breaks from being plugged in might extend our lives.

What are your thoughts? What technology was around when you were a kid? Was your childhood different from that of your kids? What three things come to your mind? Do share! Thank you. ;-)

This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Plinky: Name three advantages that kids born these days have over older generations.

*Please bear with me as I continue to catch up on your blogs and commenting… Thank you all for your patience! :-)

Positive Motivation Tip: Invite the inner child out to play… It might surprise you.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All photos Children at play, Higher learning, Crows of Pearl Blossom book cover,via Wikipedia and/or via Flickr Poems/Lyrics via

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

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33 responses to “Reflections: The Kids Advantage…

  1. My inner child hardly ever goes in I’m happy to say!

  2. Keep the inner child in you alive.. a childlike quality is very important.. childlike not childish!!

    • Yes, childlike not childish… and then we must address all the other issues raised in the post as they contribute to maintaining or sustaining our kids advantages in a concrete way. TY for your feedback! :-)

  3. Remember our first TV
    Had no microwaves
    No cell phones
    No Internet
    Had a wringer washer machine…No dryer…clothes hung on a line in the yard
    No gadgets stuck in my ear all day …
    Need I go on???
    and I’m just 63 years old…and to ME…I’m NOT old…
    We played outside every day…up and down a creek…caught ligtning bugs at night…rode bicycles or walked…Wouldn’t trade any of those things…made me who I am today!…A pretty good rounded woman…strong, pretty clever and loving!

    • I remember all that you mentioned but almost forgot the microwave… though it does fit in with my instant everything line. Much has changed and I would like to see a long term study on how all our gadgetry is impacting our quality of life. Or better yet, its true impact on our children. TY! :-)

  4. I feel sad that my children didn’t have the freedom I had as a child.

    • Same here Tilly. Play dates were not the norm when I was growing up but it is/was for our children … and we know about the rest. TY! ;-)

  5. The downsize to the computerized world we live in today is that children don’t seem to have the desire to play outside like we did as children. My parents had to drag me inside when I was a child. Now, I have to make my grandsons go outside to play. They would prefer to sit idle in front of a screen of some sort, be it TV, computer, or video game. No wonder there are so many fat kids today.

  6. Thank God my son has always liked being outdoors. We have always lived in the country, different states, but in the coutry, so climbing trees, walks in the woods, building forts, were always an option for him. We lived in FL for many of his growing up years so we were able to be outdoors year-round and spent many hours at the beach and the river and swimming. Now that he is a teenager, he doesn’t “play” as much, but he is active in sports. I do not particulary like that he spends hours now on Skype, computer games and x-box, but I know he’s getting enough physical activity. And as a teen, mom & dad aren’t the entertainment anymore.
    One thing to parents of younger kids. We never had a tv in our son’s room until he was 14, when he really wanted privacy when playing his games, having friends over. All the years before, he had his game system set up with the main (only) tv in the family room so not only was his time more limited because he had to share the tv with mom & dad, but we could keep an eye out and “be” with him, and his friends, as well. Sorry for the essay!

  7. Writerlious

    Ah, would that I had the energy of my eleven-year-old and sixteen-month-old. I’m vicariously living through them, and getting more wrinkles every day for it. LOL. I make my middleschooler read ever week. Right now, she loves Meg Cabot. Sometimes you just have to force them to put down the remote or video-game controller and get outside or open a book.

  8. thirdhandart

    When I was a kid, there wasn’t so much worrying over kids being abducted. It could have been because my parents had six children and wouldn’t have missed one or two, but I don’t think so. It could have been because the world was a better place back then, but I’m not sure. Times have changed… some things are worse and some things are better. Like you said, “… we must … do whatever it takes (without impinging on the rights of others) to ensure our children inherit a world that is viable and safe.”
    Love the Walt Disney quote!

  9. When I was a kid, I enjoyed outdoor activities such as climbing a tree, played hide and seek with my neighbors at night under the moon light etc.. I am still hoping Abby can enjoy some of those if not all.. Great post! Thanks for sharing :)

  10. I think without my grandchildren I would probably not feed my “inner child” as naturally as I do…they keep me always wanting to be someone they can easily relate to. I just love the first quote you posted, “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. I will memorize it! :-) Debra

  11. One disadvantage of technology and having children sitting indoors playing computer games and such is that they’ve lost the ability to work out simple problems or confrontations when at play. I’ve noticed this over the years. Play allows children to be able to solve all kinds of issues that occur when playing games.

  12. With all the worries in the world today, we spend less time on the carefree and more on safety. Even the trees must miss the children. I’m wistful.
    B

  13. Great post! Children today will live a very different life from ours. It is challenging for us parents/educators to teach them what we value the most from our past experience, yet help them be ready for things in the future, which no one knows today. Who would imagine, 20 years ago, all the cool educational tools they have today?!
    Thanks for Pingback my article at igamemom.com.

  14. Great post! Today’s kids will live a very different life from ours. It is challenging for us parents/educators to teach them what we value the most from our past experience, yet help them be ready for the future, which we don’t know what is going to be. Who would have imagined, 20 years ago, all these cool educational tools/techonologies they have today?
    Thanks for Pingback my article at igamemom.com

  15. My childhood – funny you should ask, as that is exactly what I posted about earlier today!

    I quote:

    I remember tracking one of the cats to find where she had given birth to her kittens. There were tadpoles to find and grow, lambs to feed, shearing to help with or feeding out the hay in winter, depending on the season. We used to turn dressmaking pins into fish hooks and fish cockabullies in the creek that ran past the vegetable garden.

    It was an outdoor life. We lived 22 miles from the nearest shop and did not have TV or computers. I read – endlessly. My sister (yes, the one I want to go and see) hit me on the head with an axe. Lovely child. She also chopped our brother’s fringe so Mum chopped hers as punishment.

    http://teamoyeniyi.com/2012/04/04/so-it-is-easter-and-school-holidays/

  16. Hit that darn button too fast.

    Anyway, difference to my kids? No TV, no computers, not even any electricity for much of my childhood.

    Those were the days. I read a lot and yes, trying to drag kids away from TVs and computers to actually READ these days is a battle. Reading is so important.

  17. In every cycle of life it seems to bring changes and as you noted, some for the good and others not so much. I think with the technology today, if we can balance it with enjoying a good time outside ‘just playing’ or ‘just sitting around’ reading an actual book with technology time, how much larger our world would be. The problem is being able to stay focus and motivated to stay in balance. Thanks again! :)

  18. I remember one day when me and my sister were playing outside. We also tried to rack our cat who had given birth somewhere in the woods. When we returned home she told me some buzz was annoying her, and when I looked, it was a bee tangled in her hair! lol

  19. Inviting the inner child out to play is very much what my son and my dear daughter-in-law and my granddaughter and grandson are doing this week on Spring Break/Holy Week in Savannah,GA! They are outside playing in lovely warm, sleeveless shirt weather! My inner child plays with them very much in spirit, as they knew it would do when they posted new photos and descriptions daily online! See–advantages of the past playtime activities and the present advantages of staying-in-touch in love through technology!

  20. meeting my grandchildren
    (as in this Easter week)
    often let me feel like
    ~
    “Children are the hands
    by which we take hold of heaven.”
    Henry Ward Beecher

  21. because I always know,
    watching them sitting by my side:
    they will live,
    when I am dead.
    They already are sent by Heaven
    to fill the place,
    when I am gone.
    My duty is, to tell them all those facts,
    the guys in heaven had not any time for …

  22. I think of this poem by Langston Hughes “April Rain Song,” mud puddles and rain, the ways I used to (still do) love to play. Is there anything more compelling to stomp than an iced over mud puddle?

    http://www.poetryfoundation.org/features/video/6

  23. The Walt Disney quote is priceless!

  24. On this theme, there’s a very interesting article in our weekend paper about 2012-born babies, Elizabeth – http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/whats-the-future-baby-20120405-1wfez.html

  25. Well said, Elizabeth…we were just talking about this the other day. If you compare shows like Captain Kangaroo from my youth, and Mister Rogers in my son’s childhood to say Blue’s Clues, Dora, and some of the others…Captain Kangaroo and Mister Rogers did NOT talk down to the kids. the others I mentioned, and many others-treat the children like idiots!

  26. The kids today are probably thinking our childhood was closed off from the rest of the world, even though our childhood was simple, it relied on our immediate surroundings. Kids today have a a global connection that must make their world view so much different that mine and it must “expand” their little minds far more than it did mine.

  27. During the summer, my mom kept us busy by teaching us how sew or embroider. I also learned to play the flute and read. When my mother or other adults were out of the kitchen, I’d sneak in and put a fork on the stove, heat it up and use it to straighten my doll’s hair — just like I’d seen the adults do. I got burned once doing that. I pulled the fork through the hair and it touched my stomach. Except for my cousins, I couldn’t let anyone know. We also played outside a lot, climbed trees, made things – silly things like a ‘telephone’ with two empty milk cans and a string. It was pretty hi-tech stuff. On nights when the moon was full, we’d sit outside and tell stories. With all the fun we had, we never wanted to go inside when it was time for bed.

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