Tonight, I had the displeasure of watching an episode of Ben Ten with my children. I normally enjoy…maybe enjoy is too strong a word. I normally can pleasantly tolerate the TV shows my children watch. But tonight, my displeasure had more to do with the difference between my generation’s childhood experiences than the show’s unsatisfying ending.
Never before had I realized how big the difference is between the toys of my day and those available today. I guess the difference sticks out to now me more than normal because I’ve been shopping for Christmas gifts. All I have to say is that I’m glad I’m not a kid right now. The toys are senseless and random. The worst of the night was the fake hamsters you could dress up like princesses. Huh? And let’s not talk about the American Girl’s dolls. No, she is not like Barbie. At least Barbie had a job, house and car.
The toys of my day were so much better than now. Remember how much fun Operation was? How about hours upon hours of a cutthroat game of Monopoly? And I can’t forget Uno (of course you had to play pile-on. If you’ve never played pile-on, you haven’t lived). Throw in a game of Boggle and you had the prefect evening.
We didn’t have Silly Bandz. We had rubber bands that we streatched over of fingers and had a contest of who could shoot them the furthest. Or we made a sling shot out of them. We weren’t worrying about the buttons on our Wii remote not working; we were looking for spare buttons to play hopscotch with. Oh, the fun things you do with a piece of chalk and an open stretch of sidewalk.
Now I’m not knocking all the toys available now but I’ve noticed that most of them are lacking. Our toys were sneaky. You learned valuable life skills while you were playing. Uno taught you how to strategize. You knew how to count money after you played a couple of games of Monopoly and could calculate (in your head, might I add) how much rent someone owed you.
Scrabble taught you how to spell. Even something as bland as green army men stimulated your imagination. With our games, you had to think. Fun wasn’t about mindlessly pressing a button or having an electronic pet (that one still boggles my mind). Fun was about winning a game and knowing you honestly won because you were the best, not because you could press the button fastest.
The young folks may have better graphics on their TV shows, but we had cooler toys.
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