As my kids get older, I realize more and more that there are many things that I experienced as a child that they may never need to. Even things I use now will probably be obsolete by the time my children are grown!
Pay Phones – When I was old enough to spend more time traveling around town (and between towns) on my own, my dad gave me his business card with a loonie and a quarter taped to it. The business card was so that I would have his work number, the quarter was so that I could call him from a pay phone, and the loonie was so that I could buy a chocolate bar while I waited for him to pick me up. Nowadays, I make sure my kids have their cell phone and a couple of dollars on them. They don’t really need the money though, because they don’t go that far from home. They DO need the cell phone though, because many homes don’t have a land line anymore, and pay phones are pretty much extinct, but still I want them to be able to call me from wherever they are.
Commercials on TV – When the kids were little, we had cable TV, and they enjoyed the commercials almost as much as the shows they watched. Now, with Netflix and YouTube, there’s really no need for cable (or over-the-air) TV. The most commercials they see now are the ones you can skip after 5 seconds before a YouTube video. Thank goodness you can also pause them for bathroom breaks — remember when we had to wait for the commercials to do that?
35 mm Camera – I loved photography while I was growing up, and my favourite class through high school was exactly that: Photography. I spent 3 years experimenting with various films and cameras, and developing my own work in the dark room. There was something incredibly satisfying about freezing a moment in time on film, and then developing that film, choosing the best shots and developing the resulting photos. I’ve tried explaining the whole process to my kids, but they don’t get it at all. From their experience, a picture captured with their phone shows up immediately on the screen. And a hard copy of it? Why would you need that?
Snail Mail Pen Pal – When I was a kid, my dad brought home this wall-sized photograph of all of Canada. Yes, you read that right. After it lived in a variety of places in our house, I swiped it and plastered it on one whole wall of my bedroom. And then I got into exchanging letters with penpals all across Canada. I marked each one on that map, so many it seems like it was about 100 (but my rusty memory could be exaggerating). I loved the thrill of getting new mail at the Post Office after school each day, and I must have spent so much on stamps over those few years! Now, I only buy stamps for work, where we use them to pay bills that can only be paid by cheque. Why would I use them for anything else, when an email is faster, free and easier? Sure, my kids could have email penpals, but they will likely never know what it’s like to receive snail mail letters from friends far away.
Writing a Cheque – Cheques drive me nuts anyway. I think we only have them so that we can write “VOID” across them when we’re setting up a new Pre-Authorized Payment. Cheques really have gone the way of the dodo for most people. I write several every month at work, but I doubt my kids will even need to learn how to write one themselves!
There are so many things that our kids won’t experience because of the year they were born!
Can you think of any others?