When people my age (I am 60) look at the differences between now and “back in the day,” technology tops the list. Today everyone is walking around with a phone in their pocket. When I was a kid, we knew of one person, a doctor, who had a phone in his car.
I remember getting our first color television; we had three channels. We had to watch shows when they aired. If your favorite show was on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. and you were not home at 8 p.m. on Thursday, you missed it. Today, through the miracle of the internet, I can watch the shows from Thursday night, 50 years ago, if I wish.
When Pong came out, being able to interact with a screen, a white dot bouncing around, and attempting to hit it with a small white line was high tech. Today, with virtual reality, the game player steps into the action and the events around them are so life-like, it is like walking into a movie.
I remember the first time my family and I saw a microwave oven. We stopped at a rest area while traveling. There were the usual vending machines, and inside one of them was sandwiches. Dad bought a hamburger and asked mom to cook it for him in the oven there. A sign over the microwave had cooking times for the items sold in the machine. “Hamburger — 1 minute,” read the sign. I still remember my mother saying to me, “You can’t cook a hamburger in one minute.”
She put the sandwich in there, set the timer on five minutes, and turned it on. That hamburger came out like a hockey puck. Dad never got to eat his sandwich, and I got in trouble for laughing at my mom (over a half-century later, I still laugh when I think about my mom’s first experience cooking without a fire).
These are just a few examples from around the house; when we start thinking of the fields of medicine, science, and the military, then the advances in technology truly become mind-blowing.
But honestly, when I think of the differences between my generation and the generations of my children and especially my grandchildren, my mind thinks of this — we matured faster, but they grow up quicker.
Let me explain.
Julie and I were 19 and 18 when we were married. Some may say that it is too young, well, in 1978, things were different. We were mature enough to sustain a marriage. We were responsible enough to go to work and college. Our first child came less than two years later, and we were mature enough for the responsibilities of adulthood when they arrived. We paid our bills and always had the rent money.
Do not get me wrong; we made plenty of mistakes along the way. Things I wish if I could go back and do differently, I would, but overall, we were ready for the outside adult world when the time came.
I do not believe Julie, and I was exceptions. Judging from our high school classes, most were ready for life after graduation.
Things like booze, drugs, and sex were around but were not prevalent. A high school kid from the 1970s knew where these things were, but were not regular partakers, and many were not involved at all.
It seems as if today, it is the exact opposite. When it comes to alcohol, drugs, and sex, many teens are involved regularly.
Many of the things my generation did not experience until adulthood are happening to today’s youth as early as ages 12 and 13, or even younger, but many of today’s youth are not ready for the everyday responsibilities of adulthood when they leave home. Sadly, many people today cannot handle the day-to-day grind, such as work, a peaceful relationship, children, paying the bills, and etcetera.
We matured a lot sooner, and they grew up quicker.
Many people today in their 30s and 40s act like children when they do not get their way, to the point of throwing a tantrum. Every wall with a fist hole is proof of that.
The Bible tells us the best way to become mature is to remember God, “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:1).
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in northern Parke County, Indiana. Website: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com; email: email@example.com; mail: 410 S. Jefferson St., Rockville, IN 47872.