Change happens. In an English lesson recently we were talking about the inventions of the past 50-odd years – massive changes have occurred in just about every area of our lives. The fifty years before that didn’t see quite so many developments, but that’s just my opinion; probably my grandmother (left) wouldn’t have agreed at all.
Every generation has its ‘special thing’, something that separates it from those on either side. Granny was born at the turn of the last century, so her teenage and early adult years were during and just after WW1. Can’t have been easy; we have photos of my grandfather in his soldier’s uniform, a fresh-faced young man, and then other photos just a few years later, where his expression says it all. I guess they grew up fast in those days too.
My mother’s formative years were accompanied by the Great Depression and then another war. I can remember sitting at Granny’s square wooden table, listening to the two of them talking about times past. I would ask something and be told, ‘You don’t know what it was like.’ Which was true, but I wish now I’d asked more about it before it was too late.
My generation didn’t have a world war – maybe that’s why other things have changed and developed more? I was a child in the swinging sixties and a teenager in the psychedelic seventies and it was heady stuff I can tell you… So what are we talking about when we say to our kids ‘You don’t know what it was like’?
My generation’s ‘special thing’ is this: we can remember a world without the www etc. When I was 18, computers were futuristic things seen on Star Trek, and telephones had wires attaching them to the wall, and you had to speak into them. Our children have little idea what that was like… just as I have little idea what it was like to live through a war. The difference is – I can take today’s changes, this new technology, and use it to my advantage.
Letter writing, article writing, book writing… where would we be now without Word Documents et al??? Unimaginable that I used to think nothing of writing/rewriting entire stories by hand.
But the biggest and best change of all – to parents of teenagers, anyway – is the invention of mobile phones with their text message function.
Gone are the days when parents were forced to lie awake at 3 a.m, waiting for the kids to come home, worrying because they were late and having no possibility to contact them. How glad I am I rarely had to do that. If one of my sons didn’t appear when I thought he should, I could send off a quick and tactful text ‘Are you coming home tonight? 🙂 (The smiley made all the difference.)
99% of the time they were gracious enough to reply, giving me the assurance that they were, at the very least, alive and coordinated enough to text. Sometimes they even put in apostrophes, which was always terribly reassuring. Made it much easier to put up with the few occasions when I did have to lie worrying.
I wonder what changes lie ahead. What will I see in my lifetime? What will the world will be like when the next generation has grown up, and the one after that?
But then – sometimes it’s better when you just don’t know. 🙂