We grew up with things that our parents didn’t have. Our parents grew up with things that their parents didn’t have, and our children are growing up with things that we never had. As for their children, it is still to be determined.
For me, I am pretty sure that the offspring of my Oreos will, God willing, grow up with the ability to have what their parents had, but actually will grow up with what our great-great-grandparents had. Because, as I have said many times, my grandchildren will be moving back to the shtetl with Tevye and his five daughters. No televisions, no electronic handheld devices, hanging clothing out to dry on a string attached to the telephone poles, and eating chickens that they shechted themselves. And that is okay.
Sometimes it seems that life is so filled with so many things that our children shouldn’t be exposed to that living a life in a bubble of black and white might not be such a bad thing. I am sure that many people disagree with me, and sure, it would have been nice if Son #2 had finished college before diving into the yeshiva life, but it is what it is. They are happy, God should watch over them and they should always be happy and healthy, and maybe my grandchildren will rebel and become doctors, lawyers, or accountants. Or all three.
Parents should love their children unconditionally, even if their lives turn out to be totally different than what we wanted for them. We give them the tools, and they use them to build bookcases to put their books on. I mean seforim (which is Hebrew for books).
Generations ago, families — aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents — all lived together in one or two family homes, so they didn’t need FaceTime. They had to use a phone that was blocks away, possibly at the local supermarket. They might have driven horses instead of cars. And now you can drive your car while talking and seeing your grandparents who, theoretically, could live 6,000 miles away. Is that a good thing? I guess.
But on those same phones, you have the ability to get sucked into social media and come out two hours later and totally forgetting who they are, where they are, or why they were on their phones in the first place. (I am not speaking from experience, of course.) Phones should be used for making phone calls (a lost art) and for Waze. (Knowing where you are going without Waze is another lost art.)
Our children will never know the satisfaction of hanging up on someone, or making a “phony” phone call. If you are reading this and are younger than 21, you probably don’t even know what that is!
You see, boys and girls, in the olden days, you had the ability to call someone and they would have no idea who was calling them because there was no caller ID back in the olden days. You could call a teacher that you didn’t like, a boy or girl you really liked, and then hang up on them, and no one would be the wiser. Ahh, the simple pleasures of life. No more.
I am speculating that in a few years, when you call someone, your name, date of birth, address, and social security number will come up. As long as it isn’t your height and weight, I am okay with that.
I think about the Game Boys that my monkeys played years ago. There was even a way and a cord you could use to plug the handheld devices into one another, and then you could play together. My boys always knew that if they were playing something together, it made me happy, even if they were supposed to be doing their homework. And nothing was more fun for me than when one of these Game Boys went missing and I had until they came home from school to find it. They don’t call me “supermom” for nothing. Okay, no one calls me that, but I still think they should.
There is no real point to this column. I just find it amusing that with all the progress that technology has made over the years, there are still those people who refuse to conform. Who still use the grandma flippy phones and who will never see a movie in a movie theater, or anywhere else for that matter, and that is okay. Good health, laughter, and mazal are all we need. Oh, and food…
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is sad that Son #3 is back in Baltimore because his ben hazmanim is over. Why they can’t just call it vacation is totally beyond her, but she has to pick her battles…