When I was about 10 years old and up, I didn’t have a whole lot of toys. My Mom and Dad were different than parents today. My Mom was a “Stay at Home Mom,” and my Dad was a 30+ years’ Military man, so money was a little scarce. We did indeed have plenty of food, and we had some toys, but the majority of our days were spent outside. We used cardboard boxes to play with, and sometimes they became tanks and such; such were our days back then. We also had chores we had to do: helping to cut the lawn, sweeping the floors, washing dishes and drying them. By-and-large, we had full days.
Today, I watch my Grandsons, and they have so much more. And yet, at the same time, they have less in a very odd way. They have all the electronic gadgets, game consoles, Ipads and Ipods, along with their own Cellphones. You would think they had it all; and yet they tell us, “I’m bored!”
I wondered for a while, how could this be? All those games – and that is not enough? So I tell them to go outside and do something. The Lord have Mercy…if they were to do any chores, inside or outside! The dishes are washed in an Automatic Dishwasher and they’re dried there as well. Mom sweeps the floors and even Dad does the lawn on a riding Lawn Mower. And you would be out of your mind if they were to dump the trash – smelly old trash!
Now days, most families live in Suburbia, and a few still live on Farms or Ranches, but not too many; those days are long gone. So my question is, why do these young people fall into “Depression” more than in previous years; and we should not forget to mention some adults as well. Such are our lives of Leisure! Our work is more stressed, more hours per day; and so home life tends to suffer in this regard. In most homes, both Mom and Dad work, so where does this leave the kids? No personal direction, little purpose in the day, except for school; so what are these kids doing with their time?
How many kids spend their days in daycare facilities, with Friends or other Family Members? And then the day comes along when you look in your child’s eyes and they’re blank stares; or it could be crying fits—in simple, a lack of energy and especially a lack of happiness. What happened? How can this be? With all the new technology, all the new gadgets, and the kids are bored out of their minds?
Has it crossed anyone’s mind that Supervision is good, but not good if that supervisor is just anyone other than Mom and Dad? How many children know how to play – to truly play – to learn to use their imagination and play with focus and intent? It would appear something has been lost over the years since I was 12 or so, and our Kids and Grandkids suffer for it. What is it…that was lost?
I remember seeing and wanting desperately a Toy Chinook Helicopter. It was so cool; it used a “D” cell battery, the rotors would spin slowly around, and there was a small door on the side that could open. A small arm would extend out, and there was a string with a hook on the end that could go up or down. And that was it! Yet, to me it was the most wonderful toy a boy could have!
As of today, I have never gotten that helicopter. In the day, we did not have $50 to blow on a toy like that. I had to try and build one. Rough and out-of-design though it was, I did my best. The kids now days would never be able to try and make one. They simply do not possess the skills. Dad never sat down and taught them how to use the tools, or to cut and attach pieces of wood. Maybe not the best example, but you get the idea.
I have no idea what the girls did. I had two sisters who spent their time with cardboard figures and cutting out paper dresses and such. Why? I haven’t a clue. I learned to dig holes, hoping to find gold, and built planes with balsa wood wings and a metal toy car. Then I would spend hours trying to build some sort of engine. The Rubber-Band thingy was way too lame. I wanted a “Rocket Engine!”
I finally decided to use the metal casing of a ballpoint pen, stuffed it with “Strike-Anywhere” matches ground to a fine dust (surprised I never set a fire). Then I carefully packed the barrel of the pen and then made a fuse. I spent hours carefully placing the pen of the car-plane to be sure that it would actually fly some distance. Then I spent hours building a ramp out of Popsicle sticks to launch the Car-Plane from.
Finally the day came for the first launch. I would light the fuse and watch it soar through the air. I was giddy with excitement! After school I dropped my books in my room, said hi to Mom, and headed for my little fort out back (I built that too). I carefully put the ramp up to the little window, placed the Car-Plane on the ramp, and I had one last match to light the fuse. The fuse was about a foot long. After lighting it, I crawled to the back of the fort and covered my ears (not knowing what would happen).
The fire hit the back of the plane, and the plane whooshed up the ramp and went about two feet out the window…I was ecstatic! It was actually flying. All of a sudden…it exploded! It was really loud too. Needless to say, every Mom on the block was on their back porch looking at the mushroom cloud and wondering what just happened. And that included my Mom as well! “Ye gods and little fishes…what was that?!” my Mom hollered. And again, I was to get a spanking when my Dad would get home. I am sitting here and laughing my butt off again, such was my imagination!
My point with that small story is this: kids now days will not attempt such things. My Dad was actually proud of me in what I had accomplished, dangerous though it was; and he asked me not to do it again. So my days with explosives were over. And yet, my curiosity was never diminished.
How could a kid become depressed by that? I haven’t a clue either. I was learning by doing such things. Did you notice I spent “Hours” in this endeavor? There was no time for Depression. My mind was alive with ideas that I wanted to explore. And if you notice, my Mom was at home—though after that, she needed a Pacemaker!
Do you remember those little fireworks that you throw down and they would pop? Or making a cannon and a tank that would shoot them at your army men? I did.
Do you remember what the Holy Word of God tells us?
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.“
How do a Mom and Dad do this if they are never home? I am not saying that a Mom and Dad that work are bad, but are they utilizing their time at home wisely? Are they spending quality time with their children? I know of parents that do nothing with their kids, and I do not understand why that is. The kids have all the electronics and all the games, and yet they become depressed. Do you think some parents are at fault for this outcome? What could they have done differently? Why did they have children to begin with?
I was adopted as a baby, and yet my Mom and Dad loved me. They spent a lot of time teaching me things, helping me with my curiosity. Thus, I never had time to become depressed clinically. Yes, I had my days of being down, and yet I had my curiosity and the drive to learn more and do more. I know not everyone is a whiz at doing such things, but what would it hurt to try… especially with your kids?
Why do Frisbees fly? Where can you find gold? What would happen if you dug completely through the earth to the other side and where would you come out? How does a car engine work? Why must trains run on rails? What keeps airplanes in the air? Get my drift? How many hours would all of this take, just you and your child.
Matthew 19:14 “But Jesus said, Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
It is evident that the Lord Jesus Christ found children to be important. Although this passage of Scripture means many things other than this, it still means this as well.
We already know children require a great deal of work; but trust me, when you’re old…it will be important for you! The time you spend with your children will be worth it, and you will be proud and happy that you did. The problem is, far too many children are clinically depressed now days; and that is sad, to say the least. Far too many Moms and Dads are too busy with everything else rather than spending good time with their kids. And then they wonder why their kids fail at so much, and die for no other reason than they feel life isn’t worth living.
Gadgets are never the answer! Love and compassion are…but you have to be there for it to work. Remember… “Suffer the little children!”
To be honest with you, I am so surprised my Mom and Dad never had an ulcer because of me and my little shenanigans. When I graduated college, I was in the top 5 percent group—a testament to the love of my Mom and Dad.
Here’s a thought for you. I am 66 years old; and yet, when I think back to those days, it seems like only a few years ago…why is that? Body gets old, but your mind (spirit) never ages. How much Wisdom of the Lord could you impart to your Grandkids…what wonderful things could you teach them? Could you expand their curiosity of things around them? Could you paint their world differently for them? After all, are we talking about your legacy…or not? In other words, how will they remember you, after you’re gone? With love and affection…or will it be…just another day?
What are you waiting for…they’re waiting on you! Give those little minds something to consider, something real, something that is going to last. Help them learn to make a difference!
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.“
I use the King James Version of the Bible, and all emphasis is mine.
You may reach the Author at; firstname.lastname@example.org