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Things have changed

panda55

Pinball Wizard
I feel truly sorry for today's youth.

My age group had it so good when we were younger.
Things have changed so much in the past 40 years and not all it was for the better, that's for sure.
And even here in Australia we now have all the problems of the world in our midst (only on a lessor scale than most, to be honest).

Take these few examples (and please feel free to agree, disagree and/or to add to the list).

THEN: When I was Nine I had a paper run(route). It was a good source of income, and kept me in enough money to play pinball :-) , buy friends and have a good time outside of school. I used to do the factory run. I visited the factories just as they were closing, at some I just left the papers and a tin for the workers to leave their money in (and never came up short - ever!!!). This got me used to grown ups as they liked to stir up the 'kid' and pretty soon I was giving as good as I got. After the factories had closed for the day I'd stand by the roadside with a few signs up with that day's headlines and sell papers and mags to the passing motorists. I wouldn't go home till I'd sold out of papers. I'd do this for two very good reasons. One - it was a long walk back to the papershop (newsagency) and mostly uphill; and two - I'd get a free small packet of smokes or a girlie magazine for selling out!! Of course the best thing with the factory run was it was only Monday to Friday - weekends were mine.

NOW: Of course today the newsagent would be too frightened to use those types of inducements. Not only that but the last time I heard you had to be over thirteen to get a paper run (and that was over 10 years ago). A responsible parent wouldn't even consider letting their child of nine out on the streets talking to strangers every day with the whacko's around now. So the kids of today miss out on a good life experience (IMO).
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THEN: There was no such thing as A.D.H.D. and other acronyms. There were certainly disruptive kids, but they were in a minority and usually kept in the lower grades so they wouldn't disrupt the mainstream classes. I was never in the lower grades so I don't really know what went on there, but I do know that the kids in those grades would still readily turn up for school every day, do some form of educational work, and we'd all socialise in the playground together without fear of being bashed, slashed or shot. And even though these kids were classed as the 'dummies' by the 'elite', they certainly weren't held up for ridicule (if you knew what was good for you :-} ) in any way. It was just another class in that particular grade.

NOW: A growing percentage of kids are on some form of drug to control them at school. My wife is a teacher of 25 years and teaches the 5 to 7 years olds mainly. She has had kids in Kindergarten swearing and cussing at other kids and teaching staff, belting up other kids in the playground and being totally disruptive in class to the extent if that child is away, the other kids mention how much fun the day was without 'so-and-so'. As the kids get older they can become more violent. More recently 'integration' of these students into mainstream classes was the norm. The idea was they would see how 'normal' kids behaved in the classroom situation and would eventually conform (within their limitations) to that standard. In reality all it did was make it almost impossible for the 'normal' kids to learn as much and in some cases turn them off school altogether, due to relentless disruptions or fear of physical violence. (Where do these boffins get their ideas from?)
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THEN: Boys and their toys. Cars were a great form of entertainment and a time consuming passion amongst teenage boys. I couldn't afford a car when I was a kid (so I had motor scooters or bikes), but some of my mates did. The beauty of cars in those days was that they were so simple. Carburettors instead of fuel injection, no computer timing, just points and plugs. You could change the cam shaft (singular) to increase performance, modify the exhaust with extractors and 2" stainless exhaust pipes, put in solid lifters instead of hydraulic tappets, shave the head, increase the bore to get a standard car with a top speed of 85mph able to do 110mph. Of course being relatively poor we wouldn't waste money on anything as trivial as boosting the brakes to stop these rocket-sleds on wheels. Where would be the fun in that ;) . Dragging from one stop light to another was considered a favoured past-time. We also would go to illegal drag meetings held at the brickyards in Sydney. (It is where most of the events took place for the 2000 Olympics and now known as Sydney Olympic Village ). These drag meets would be run very professionally and attendance was by word of mouth. "Brickies is on" were the words rev-heads loved to hear. From memory there weren't any deaths in my time - but a few spectacular accidents.

NOW: Most of the kids have got fancy wheels, farings and lights with booming sub-woofers pounding out some inane tribal music and thats it. Even the small 1.5ltr cars can do a 100mph now. But the kids don't get a chance to fiddle with them and tweak them, a skill sadly lost. They also don't get the comradery and sense of achievement that came with it.
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THEN: Speaking of skills lost brings me to my next point. When I was a kid we used to play outside. A lot. Groups of kids in the street playing footy, cricket, war games, cowboys and indians etc. Not only was this good exercise, but also a great place to learn some life skills. There would be fights and arguements galore as one would expect with any group, like say a pinball forum for example (tehe, couldn't resist ). If you wanted to get your way then you needed to learn negotiating skills, bargaining strategies, trade-offs and other forms of resourcefulness. Even at school there would be sporting matches on, marble competitions, brandings etc. All of these were group activities. And all helped in learning basic conflict management and resolution.

NOW: You all know what's coming next. Bloody television, computer games and videos. Whilst I love playing around on the computer and watching TV, I do believe it has got to a point with a lot of youth where it is detrimental to their growth as a person. You don't get real life confilct resolution skills playing Warcraft 6 hours a day (or more). Could this be a factor behind the current alarming divorce rate in the world. We no longer have had those myriad of fights, squabbles and arguements when growing up to prepare us to live with an alien creature of the opposite sex (and their family's infulence on our life). At the first sign of disagreement, up go the defence shields and out come the lawyers. Some are lucky enough to learn the necessary skills quickly in the workplace or at College or Uni, but for others they never had a chance. Some are destined to be obnoxious know-alls that can't take criticism of any kind and others will be walked over by all and sundry.
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THEN: Jobs. There used to be what were called process working jobs. These were mainly repetetive tasks makeing the same tihing day in - day out. It would send me nuts in a day. But for some people, it was all they could handle (or all they could get) due to physical, mental or lack of english reasons. Making nuts and bolts, winding electric motors, assembling goods on a prodution line. The pay wasn't good, but it was regular (and in Australia we have a minimum wage, which stops shonky operators to a degree). Most of these place had regular overtime available too which helped out a lot. My mum did this work for most of her life (she started working at 12yo) and my dad was a labourer (he started work at 13yo). Both were on minimum wage. But through good management and long hours they were able to buy a block of land and build a house, and take us (my brother and I) on camping holidays each Christmas, all without the need for government assistance. Thanks Mum and Dad for your sacrifices.

NOW: Process workers are no more. Now it's either automated or imported from some other country with cheaper labour. Where do all those poor buggers go for work now. Process workers and basic labouring jobs were about 14-15% of our workforce. All gone. But the people remain. There will always be the less fortunate ones - the 'not too bright', the ones with a disability or the refugees and immigrants struggling with the language. Now the live on the 'dole' and have a very poor outlook for the future. This is a multi-edged sword. They now have very little hope or self esteem compared to the process workers of old. They have little or no chance of getting a house or taking the kids on real holidays. They are no longer paying taxes and helping the country out. They no longer have a disposable income (as small as it was) to help out small business and add to the health of the economy, but the opposite, for now they are a drain on the economy through no fault of their own in most cases other than time has passed them by. With all this extra time it is easy to get a) into depression, b) into drugs or alcohol abuse, c) mental and/or physical abuse, d) crime, e) all of the above. This becomes more and more of a problem taking up more and more resources and taking it's toll on families and communities alike.

My rant is now at a close for the time being. Please comment. I would be interested in your thoughts as I may just be getting old and cranky.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Very interesting and well worth the read. I'll write up my comments offline and post them later, since I can't type that much all at once due to my arthritis. I find a lot of your terms a bit unusual, just as I guess you do or will mine. But to sum up my thoughts briefly, most people act or react before they think, if they ever do think, and that causes a lot of the problems you mentioned. And a lot of parents dole out money to their children just to get them out of their hair. Life really has changed from the mid 50's, and little of it has been for the better. You really hit the nail on the head. More soon.

John
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Things were so much different when I was a kid back in the late 40s and 50s, and ever all the way through high school, until the mid to late 60s. My family of four was probably just barely middle class, with dad working mostly as a shipping clerk, and mom as a 2nd grade teacher. I don't recall ever not having anything I needed but as for toys and candy, I had to earn. At first by doing chores at home, and sooner than I would have liked, by doing odd jobs around the neighborhood.

But the things I remember most fondly were the ice man in his horse drawn cart, and the scrap iron man, also in a horse drawn cart. We had a bus stop at the foot of our steps, and we lived on the last trolley line in Cincinnati, and I would sit on those steps and watch the trolleys go by. Funny thing, although we didn't get a car until at least the mid 50s, I don't remember ever riding the trolleys, which were retired probably when I was four.

We lived atop a massive hill, and I'd spend afternoons up in the attic, looking out on the entire neighborhood. But if I wanted to roam, mom never minded, since it was safe, unlike today, when it's not even safe behind locked doors. And nobody had A/C, so we'd sit out on the porch and talk. Back then TV was still new, and there wasn't that much to watch. And of course walking was still done for recreation, and everyone knew one another, and most everyone was friendly, rather than suspicious like nowadays.

Part of the chores my older brother and I did was helping fix meals. We'd start out filling glasses and making toast, but as we got older we'd do more and more, and even fixed entire meals, since my mom had school papers to grade. And all our friends learned to cook too. And since I've never gotten married, all those cooking lessons really pay off. Nowadays all kids need to learn is how to work a microwave to fix some unheathly junk.

And like Panda said, we spent most of our time outdoors, with our friends. While there were ball games and such, and later on a bowling alley we hung out at, we learned about freindships and loyalty, and sharing. Our group was a mix of both boys and girls, and while there was a lot of horsing around, it was good clean fun. Nowdays, I'm not so sure if it's safe for girls to be around boy, if you believe news reports. It seems to me that children aren't taught respect for themselves, much less others.

But my biggest gripe are all the electronic gadgets there are, and cell phones are at the top of my gripe list. I don't think I should be subjected to mindless chit chat I overhear when at the doctor's office, or the grocery store. Sure, emergencies happen, but I've never yet heard a cell phone call that sounded important. And I've seen young kids with their own cell phones and pagers, now how can they be kids if they're playing at being adults.

I for one don't mind being an old 58, although I wouldn't mind if I woke up tommorrow and it was 1953 again. I appreciate many of the technical advances we have, but I sure could do without these modern times. And if I had to sum up the biggest problem facing society today it would be a lack of respect and manners, personal and for others. I've been out of step with things for at least 35 years, and I prefer my pace a lot better than the world's pace.

John :oldman
 

panda55

Pinball Wizard
I'm not saying that everything was super rosey when I was growing up but I do feel it was a lot friendlier in general.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
I agree Panda, folks were friendlier 35-45 years ago. But then, the way things are nowadays it's not always safe to be friendly toward strangers. I wonder if youngsters feel as confused and befuddled as I usually do. And with each generation as we get further away from the solid parenting skills that even our parents had, things will continue to erode. A lot of the problems are caused by inflation and both parents working, when there are two parents in the family.

John
 

davidsss

Pinball Wizard
There's a lot to comment on here. :scratchchin:

I grew up in the 1970s in Australia so I can certainly identify with Panda's comments. Had a paper round, made some money to put into pinballs (EMs of course) and later video games.

I think there are a few aspects to parenting which have changed things. Lots more only children these days (I'm guilty here as I have 1 child). I think you have to be careful bringing up an only child as they don't learn the negotiating skills and the like you have with siblings. We make sure our child doesn't get everything and does have to negotiate. She has good manners too, it is quite possible to teach children manners these days you just have to make the effort.

I know I couldn't live without modern technology, but not all of it. We still don't have a dishwasher or air conditioning - I wouldn't mind these but my partner always says - there's only 3 of us we don't need a dishwasher and it's not hot often enough in Melbourne to justify AirCon - all too much of a drain on the earth's resources. As for microwaves - never seen the point of them, I can cook just as fast and better on a stove.

The streets seem more dangerous these days and there aren't the same places to go any more. I grew up in Gardenvale and there was an amusement place, with Southern European migrants playing cards and a couple of bingo machines for some illegal gambling, just down the street, safe and easy to get to. If my daughter wants to go to any modern equivalent it has to be at the shopping centre 10Kms (about 6 miles) away, nothing local any more. We also used to play outside more although my duaghter does play with the other kids in our street. We live only about 10Kms from the city and have a decent street, I know a lot of the others in the street, but I'm not sure this is common any more. I get the impression most people have little to do with their neighbours any more. You don't see people borrowing tools and the like as much nowadays, I still borrow and lend things to my beighbours. I do remember once lending a screw driver to a stranger and never saw it again - but I would do the same tomorrow just to encourage more community attitudes.

Employment has definately changed. I have a permanent full time job - a lot less people have these nowadays. Much more casual employment and it's only going to get worse with the changes about to be put through in Australia. Australia has traditionally not had a working poor - if you worked you could make ends meet, at least rent a decent home and possibly even buy a cheap house. With minimum wages being pushed lower and job security going we will have a working poor - people who work and struggle to survive and feed their families.

I think one of the major changes is that now "The Economy" is seen as so important and a healthy economy is seen as an end in itself. Years ago the economy was always seen as a means to an end, the end being human happiness. Governments justify their policies by saying "we need to do this to help the economy". Bugger the economy - if a government policy harms people to help the economy, let the economy suffer.

The world has become more selfish and more competitive. We need a return to more of a community rather than the obsession with individualism we have now.

That's my rant :chat: although I think I'm sounding like a grumpy old man before I'm 40!

DS
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Well David, as a 58 year old Grumpy Old Man, I can tell you that you're on the right path, but you still have a ways to go. For one thing, you weren't nearly as Nostalgic as a GOM should be, but you did fine in blaming the government. And yes, unless we start thinking as a community and not just for the benefit of ourselves, things will only get worse. It's a fine line between taking care of yourself and family and still caring about others. While I like what computers can do for me, I don't have and never will have a cell phone on an electronic device, like a pager of call waiting or any of the other "modern gadgets", all they do is confuse me.

John
 

davidsss

Pinball Wizard
I think I'm the only person at my workplace without a mobile. I just don't have a need for one and they really make a mess of your phone bill. If people want to contact me I have an answering machine at home!

I intend to convince my partner that buying a pinball machine is a good idea before I even think of buying a mobile phone, and even then I might just opt for another pinball machine. But first, a MAME/VP/VPM cabinet. :)

DS
 
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