Remember back a bit with me… to the days when you were a 10/11 year old kid. If you’re around my age you didn’t have computer games, you didn’t have big screen tvs, you didn’t have hand held devices, and you didn’t know what a mobile phone was, let alone constantly nagging your parents for one. You probably had a bike you shared with your siblings, you probably had a few sports balls that had seen better days, you probably had things like skipping ropes, yo-yos, and bags of marbles and pieces of elastic to play with. Maybe you even had a hoola hoop? Or if you were really lucky half a dozen jigsaw puzzles or board games in the cupboard and a swing set or a trampoline outside.
Now imagine that you had $50 in birthday money to spend…
Yep! $50.00. So twenty odd years ago that was probably only $25, but it’s a veritable fortune for a little kid who doesn’t get pocket money yet! The world (or in the case, the toy shop) could be your slimy edible mollusc! You could have gone mad with the joy of it, the mountain of toys you could have bought home. The luxury of being able to buy yourself, your own brand new toys! Can you just imagine it? I can barely think what I would have done with a pile of money that big when I was that age. New games, new basketball, new shoes, a record maybe, some lollies, something shiny (long story) and maybe have some left over shrappers to go in the piggy bank.
Mom: Well, kiddo what do you want to get with your birthday money?
Small Child: Buy the latest computer game (which he’ll be bored with in a few weeks).
Mom: Seriously? Can’t you think of anything other than another computer game?
Small Child: Umm… maybe more Lego?
Mom: Do you need more Lego?
Small Child: Nope. Not really. I don’t play much with the Lego I have.
Mom: What about some books?
Small Child: I’m reading a series from the library so I don’t need any books.
Mom: I can’t believe there’s nothing you want except more computer games.
Small Child: (literally shrugged) Well, I just don’t need anything.
And there you have it. While today was World Hunger Day and fast food restaurants across the country (oh the irony) were collecting money for the under privileged in developing nations, my son can’t think of anything to do with his $50 worth of birthday money – because he just doesn’t need anything. After further debate we decided to save it… even though he doesn’t have anything he wants to save up for because, well, he couldn’t figure out what else to do with it!
What a sad state of affairs… children should be full of dreams and yearning and other covetous thoughts like that. :S
You know, I was also born before the the mobile phone was king (though not much before), I see this sort of thing happening all around me; kids don’t know how to play anymore; people wonder why kids supposedly have ADHD…they just need to get off their asses and go outside, and their parents and schools need to be thrilled when kids want to be active, not terrified! I miss the good old days; when a kid could just be a kid…
(BTW I’m Nicholas Scott Hoffman from Foursquare)
Hi Nicholas 🙂
You are 100% right. At school, my kid isn’t allowed to rough house, red rover type ball games are banned, and all playground equipment may as well be bubble wrapped. I spent my childhood doing running races up and down the footpath with the neighbourhood kids or doing cartwheels in the backyard pretending I was Nadia Comaneci!!!
As parents you gotta do what you can but how does throwing a ball around with your Mum compete with the hugely engaging and interacting world of an immersive MMORPG world ?? 🙁