Every generation has it a little bit better than the previous generation, or at least that’s the dream. At the very least, they have it different. Now that I have kids, I’m really starting to notice a lot of these things. Certainly, growing up in Chicago is worlds different than growing up in Anytown, Midwest, U.S.A. like Sara and I did.
But the funny thing about kids is, they don’t have any life experience. At all. Anything that happens has, for all intents and purposes, always happened that way. They don’t know enough to be amazed at things, or happy for opportunities that they have that are actually quite extraordinary. They don’t appreciate that everybody doesn’t go through the same things they do.
The President of the United States lives across the street from where Evie goes to school. You and I know that this is a somewhat unusual, if not unique, circumstance. However, all Evie knows is that, every day of her life that she has gone to school, we have to pass through a sort of (not really) security checkpoint. There are always men in dark suits lurking around, with strange cords running to their ears. Sometimes they use the bathroom in her school. Normal.
I never flew in a plane until I was a senior in college. Evie has flown more than once a year since she was born. Not little flights either; Seattle, Phoenix, Philadelphia. So why shouldn’t she go to Paris? Doesn’t every 3 year old have the opportunity to go to Pairs? That’s normal, right?
There’s little things too about growing up in Chicago. Everybody lives next to a huge museum they can drop by at any time, right? And parks and activities all the time that you can walk to? Farmer’s markets and community gardens down the street, and art fairs and book fairs, and people all around all the time? Riding trains downtown just for the fun of it? Normal.
And that’s to say nothing of computers and smart phones. Evie will routinely say things like, “Can you look that up on the computer?” or “Put that on your e-blog, daddy!” She thinks nothing of looking through thousands of pictures and videos of herself or other people she knows, who, by the way, don’t even live in the state with us (thanks Facebook!). She loves typing letters on the keyboard, to the point where we had to ban it to get her to stop obsessing about it. After all, everybody has a computer, right? Always have and always will?
I should specify, that none of these things bother me. And I’m certainly proud that I can give my daughter opportunities that are extraordinary (even if they don’t seem that way to her). It just makes me laugh at how blasé she is about all of this stuff. After all, she’s never known any different. And hey, maybe everybody SHOULD be able to fly to Paris and walk two blocks and see the President.
(Okay, 30 is not that old, right? Because, between this post and the one on materialism, I’m really starting to sound like an old fogie, waxing nostalgic about the good old days. Get off my lawn!)