When comparing the past times of children of today with those of yesterday, it can be said that the past definitely leads to the future. Long gone are the days of the pen pals of yore, today s electronic mail has changed this activity forever. Campfire stories have been replaced by video cassette recorders, books on tape, Playdoh put away for Sony Playstation; these are merely a few of the differences between generations of children.
Long ago, society at large was not as sophisticated as compared with today. In the past, a kid was forced to use his or her imagination in many more situations. A hub cap from a 56 Chevy became an unidentified flying object deep from outer space, landing here on Earth in an futile attempt to conquer. Today all that is needed are a couple of hundred dollars for a video game system, a television and a power outlet, to watch this situation unfold right before the eyes.
Movies are activities enjoyed both by children of yore as well as kids of today. The difference lies in the scale of the motion pictures themselves. Children of the past sat in dark theaters watching the cowboy in the white hat battle and prevail over the cowboys dressed in black. Also in this theater children sat and watched a marooned and heroic Flash Gordon clash with the evil Ming the Merciless, fighting for all that was good in the Universe. By contrast, not much is left to the imagination watching the technologically advanced films of modern day cinema. Kids today watch convincingly as prehistoric dinosaurs run loose down the streets of any neighborhood USA. The kids of today stare agape as aliens attack the Earth, destroy its nations and wage the ultimate battle for the extinction of all mankind. These advances in the film industry itself have helped to distinguish, as well as reflect, the differences between today s world and that of the past.
In a bygone era, kids would gather around the family radio and listen as The Lone Ranger and Tonto would rise to the occasion for the underdog week after week. The children would listen as Ferber McGee and Molly dealt with the situations and issues of the day. The kids would sit around and listen as the sounds of The Glenn Miller Orchestra filled the house and their ears with their signature doo-wop swing. This is in great contrast with the youth of today. Teenagers can be found driving around the town in their vehicles with the sounds of car stereos equipped with equalizers and subwoofers rising above the din of traffic. Today s youth enjoy their music on the go, feeling as if there is somewhere they need to be, with really no place to go. Long gone are the slow and serene days of radio shows with talk and acting, today they are replaced with life on the go, sonic booms and reverberating rear-view mirrors.
Reading is one entertaining activity that remains constant between these generations. Reading and imagination can allow children of all ages to loose themselves deep in a world of talking animals, in a world from some unforeseen future, in worlds alive only in their mind s eye. However, it seems that in today s push button, fast food society, reading has become something of a loathsome, dreaded assignment deemed as quaint and unnecessary by the children themselves. Why read a book when there is the video version available? It seems the further we advance as a society, the lazier we become.
Finally, it could be implied that it was the imaginations of children from the past that have led to some of the entertainment options available for modern day kids. Perhaps the burning desire to actually bring some of those certain worlds of the mind to life led to the major advancements in today s world of technology. Grandfathers and grandmothers of yesterday wanting to actually see, not only believe, that a hubcap really is a flying saucer full of little green men from outer space. They found themselves hungry to explore the great unknowns of space discovered in their pulp science fiction magazines. They wanted to put a face on The Lone Ranger and Tonto; and they did.
On the other hand, these creations and great technological advances have perhaps led a large part of today s children astray. They find themselves sitting in front of a computer screen, much like I am doing now, for long periods of time interacting less with others and the physical world around them. This often results in an out of shape, socially inept child globally linked to the world yet unaware of the world around him. Nevertheless, as a kid grandpa could not e-mail someone in Japan, but he knew all of his neighbors by name.