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In my day, my mother smoked, drank a little and worked up to the day I was born.
Our house had an outhouse, an outside pump, a coal stove, four rooms and was climate controlled. (It was hot in the summer and cold in the winter.)
I slept in a crib until I was literally too big for it. It was brightly painted with lead-based paints.
There were no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets.
I rode in cars without the aid of car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags, and when we went to town the whole family rode in the back of the pickup truck.
I also rode my bicycle without a helmet, knee or elbow pads.
I drank water from a pump, garden hose or cool spring, not from a plastic bottle.
At the age of 7 I got a BB gun and at age of 9 I got a .22 rifle and 50 some years later I still have that rifle.
I went to a two-room school up until high school and every boy there, and even some of the girls, carried a pocketknife. In high school it wasn't uncommon to see a rifle or shotgun in the back window of a student's pickup truck.
Friends shared. If your friend's family sat down to eat, you did too. I ate things like ham, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, white bread, used real butter and sugar, but I wasn't overweight because I was always outside playing or working.
I would spend hours in the woods building forts or tree houses, pretending to be Robin Hood or playing cowboys and Indians. I would leave in the morning and knew to be home before dark.
It was a given that anyone might give you a healthy swat for backtalking an elder. Lawsuits were unknown and a parent bailing a child out of jail was unheard of. And if I got a paddling at school, I could expect another one when I got home.
Somehow I and others like me survived, even though we didn't have Playstations, Nintendos or X-Boxes, no video games at all, no 500-plus channels on cable or satellite TV, no video movies or DVDs, no surround sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no laptops, no Internet, no chat rooms and no counselors.
What we did have, though, was a creative imagination. We made our own fun. We had a genuine respect for our elders and we used good old common horse sense. It appears, I'm sorry to say, and due to no fault of their own, many children nowadays are in short supply of all three.
Could it be we have depended too much on our politicians to do our thinking for us in the form of laws?
Could it be we have depended too much on technology to baby-sit and raise our children?
Could it be we have put too much emphasis on book learning and not enough on simple reasoning and creative thought?
Could it be we as a society have simply grown a little lazy, at the expense of our children?
Orndorff lives near Gatchel.