I’m a Gen Xer. Darn proud of it too. I am one of those who feel that we had the best childhood growing up. I’ll save that tirade for another post though. What I do appreciate, is that there wasn’t any social media when I was growing up. I was reminded of this yesterday, when I got to see a major league baseball game.
It was my first time back in a really large crowd since the pandemic hit last year. Since it’s baseball there were a lot of families there. One family really caught my attention as we were in a dining section and they were directly in my sightline. Mom and Dad were maybe in their early thirties and they had two young ones. I’m guessing the kids were three years old and six months old. The three year old had baseball rub-on tattoos everywhere–both sides of his face, an entire arm, both legs. It was awesome. I am guessing they got them at the kids’ club at the ballpark and I pictured his mom and dad saying, ‘go for it!’ I think of it like telling the child to live their best life. I was also impressed with them because for the entire two hours they were in our vicinity, I never saw them on their phones for more than a minute to check something and they never once offered the phone to the children.
I make no judgment about parents who do use electronic devices to entertain their children during public gatherings. We all do what we can to cope and survive. I am grateful though that cell phones were not an option for me when I was raising my own kids. They had handheld games available to them as it was. We had all the DS game systems and a PSP for a few minutes, all which came in handy for things like long car rides or really slow service at restaurants. For the most part though, we had to get creative–building tall buildings out of the bowl of creamer on the table or playing tic tac toe on the placemat.
I imagine it has to be really hard today. There is so much pressure to be online. There is so much pressure to look like everything in life is happy and perfect. We expect instant communication from family and friends because we know they have a device in their hands all the time too. And let’s face it, it’s easy. There are a zillion apps with shows, games and anything else you could want, all at the click of a button. You don’t have to get creative with the creamer on the table at the restaurant anymore.
I know there are benefits too. I am so happy to be able to FaceTime with out of town family and friends. I was elated to zoom with my peers during the pandemic lockdown. I never take for granted the wonderful things technology allows me to do.
I do wonder how all this technology will affect the next generations. Will they lose the ability to communicate in person with each other? Will they really live in a virtual world and miss out on tactile things like going to museums and play places, with real hands-on experiences?
Maybe this can prove that Gen X is the greatest generation of all!