I don’t mean to start a my-generation-is-better-than-your-generation argument. Still, I’m grateful I grew up during a time where smartphones didn’t exist and you could play tag at recess. Here are a few other reasons why growing up in the ’80s was great.
When I was a kid, we would purchase “singles” tapes otherwise known as a song on the top 10 list. Somehow, going to the store to buy a new “tape” seems much more exciting than downloading a song. My sister and I would play “Two of Hearts” or “Walk like an Egyptian” over and over again until I’m sure my parents felt like wearing ear plugs. Our friends called us on our awesome Swatch phone. We didn’t have to worry about texting (or sexting) or social media bullying. And, if a boy called our house, my parents knew it.
Monkey Bars, Show and Tell and Red Rover
I spent most of the ’80s in elementary school. I loved it. Standards hadn’t come about and schools had plenty of money in their budgets for field trips and music programs. In kindergarten, I brought my pet rabbit for show-n-tell. We played Red Rover and did cherry drops off the high bar. Nowadays (at least in my experience), there aren’t any high bars because parents will sue if their child breaks an arm. Animals aren’t allowed on school campuses. Field trips have been cut to one a year. Summer school no longer means art, music and science experiments. Instead, its a “high intensity” program reserved for kids who are struggling. My daughter goes to a great school with plenty of art, a set of monkey bars, fun events and a dedicated teacher. However, school is simply not the same as it used to be.
Hot Pink and Lace
Only in the ’80s could you dress like a rock star and not have people stare at you. From hot pink spandex to lace leggings, fashion was fun! One of my favorite pink shirts had a leopard on it. I wore it with a pink t-shirt clip with rhinestones and leggings with lace trim. Occasionally, I put my daughter’s hair in a side ponytail and buy her hot pink so she can experience the thrill of it all (although she has no idea what I am doing).
Sometimes, I feel bad for my kids. We try to make their childhoods carefree and simple. We read books, have plenty of free play and explore. Yet, with all the toddlers drinking Starbucks hot cocoa with a smartphone in their hand, it can be hard to keep my kids grounded. I wish I could transport my kids back to the ’80s….to simpler times.
More from Melissa:
A Survival Guide for Parents in the Suburbs
Some Tips for My Future Teenage Children
Irritable Children? How to Banish a Case of the ‘Grumpies’ in Your Home