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The finest part of any one’s life is their childhood. For each one of us childhood brings in fond memories. As a person born in the 80’s our childhood or growing up days were significantly different from today’s generation of kids. Not that the value system has changed or the family culture has undergone a sea of change. Traditions have been handed over generations and would continue to do so. However, the difference lies in the lifestyle, the interest areas of kids, access to gadgets, technology etc.
During our times, television and radio were the only entertainment mediums. For many maybe these were even luxury. Doordarshan, the National TV channel was the only channel as paid channels were not even heard of. Even television had limited options and Sundays were the most entertaining day as we used to get to watch TV most of the time. So does that mean our childhood was boring? No. Because we had other livelier things to keep ourselves happy and busy.
Most of my generation people would agree that we all had a huge gang of friends. Friends which included our neighbours, neighbour’s cousins, our cousins etc. And we spent our time playing cricket, badminton, jumping over fences, getting messy in muddy waters, plucking ripe fruits from trees etc. Evenings came and all of us would be out in the playgrounds playing our favourite sport. Not that we spent our days only outside we had our favourite indoor games too -Carrom, Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, Chinese chequer, Chess etc. The thrill of reaching at 99 in snakes and ladder and in the next shot moving back to 0 had its own charm. And then came the long vacations. Vacations were always looked forward to as it meant visiting either your paternal or maternal grandparents, relatives’ places and having a blast with your cousins. Late nights, watching movies, shopping, packed lunch picnics – these were the highlights of such holidays. Though we had limited sources of entertainment we had our share of fun in all the little things that we did. Today’s generation has variety of entertainment to keep them happy - television, video games, amusement parks etc. My five and half year-old niece teaches me how to play angry birds, candy crush. When I look at them I think to myself are they losing out something. Technology has made our lives simpler and easier. Convenience, comfort have all become synonyms of technology. But in this age of internet and technology are our children missing the simple joys of life? I remember my mother always use to say that simple joys of life are when you hear birds chirping early in the morning, or see small kids making bubbles or playing with a stick and stone. Are our techno savvy generation of children missing on these little things? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe their definition of simple joys is playing video games and reaching to the highest level in the same. Probably the definition of joy, fun, being happy, entertainment has changed. Maybe it has been redefined.
Technology, no doubt is a blessing to all of us. It is technology that make grandparents do a skype call with their grandchildren miles away. It is technology which has brought smiles on our parents face when they order items online or do a video call with their children or book a cab and travel on their own or access social media or play X box with their grand-children. These definitely are simple joys of life. In this new era of life, little things have been redefined and re-created. Which is fine as long as we can still make our children enjoy the beauty of nature, introduce them to books, take them to long walks or do unplanned picnics or play a game of Ludo. Limit the use of phones and laptops when the kids are around - be it your own child, your niece/nephew, whosoever and see the magic on the little one’s face. Go cycling with them, play marbles, have a game of kite flying or a quick board game and capture all these in your smart phones or the latest camera. Make memories while doing all these wonderful things.
The other day I was speaking to my cousin and said to her that her son and my daughter would be similar cousins like us. “A new generation of cousins are in the making, “I said. She said this generation is different. They might not grow up to be as we were. That made me thinking. Why not? Because this generation has access to a more comfortable life than our generation. They have the world at their doorstep with a click of a button. Good. They have convenience which gives them a better chance to stay connected with their cousins, friends etc. Generations will always change with time. That is inevitable. And change is good. We simply need to adapt to this change and make the most of it. Imagine if there would be no skype. Parents, grandparents would have waited for months, maybe years to see their little ones staying miles away. Similarly, there are so many things today without which maybe it is difficult for us to comprehend our lives. So keep a check and be grateful for the blessings of technology. Children learn by observing their parents or their elders. Curtail or reduce the usage of phones, laptops etc. when your kids are around to spend quality time with them. Listen to their daily experiences and share your stories. Do not consider it to be the same mundane stuff every day. No, every day is different and our kids will have different instances, events, tales to share. Hear them out. Life would not give us this opportunity to relive the days gone by. And our children would grow up one day. Maybe then we would not be around to know what is happening in their lives. Enjoy their childhood as they enjoy too. Make the best of it by adopting to change coupled with your traditions. And you will see that a beautiful, easy, comfortable, blissful and memorable life is in the making for all of us.