What life in the ’60s taught me

When I look at my grandchildren, I feel sad for them. Although technology has advanced so much over the years
Growing up in the '60s was magical. Photo: YouTube (Mary Dean).

When I look at my grandchildren, I feel sad for them. Although technology has advanced so much over the years with modern gadgets exposing them to new learning possibilities, these kids are missing out big time. I grew up in the ’60s and lots of wonderful memories were created in the decade. We played out in the neighbourhood and even explored small bushes with friends, unsupervised and we still turned out okay.

Life in the ’60s has taught me so much.

It’s not what you have, it’s what you make of it

Back then, we didn’t have fancy toys and we didn’t have tablets either. I remember mum telling me to go out and play so she could clean and cook dinner before dad came home. With no toys and no supervision, my friends and I tried all sorts of possibilities when it came to the scrap wood or the cans we found. All we had were building scraps, fallen branches, leaves and barrels and we still managed to create such fun activities. We didn’t have much but we improvised, we got creative and we thought of smart solutions.

I learned how to first fall, and then get back up again

I remember bruising my legs, falling off that tree in our backyard but at the same time, it taught me how high I could go and how falling would feel. They say it’s not about how hard you fall but how you get up after a fall that defines you. And those countless minor incidents – falling of makeshift wooden stilts, slipping of an imaginary bridge on the lawn and crashing that swing – have all taught me how to fall AND that the next thing to do is get back up. Today, I notice many children have a lot of anxieties even when trying new, fun things. A kid at my grandson’s party was even crying because he said that h’s trampolining skills were not as good as others. What?

I learned to count on others

Those days, friends didn’t ask much of you. You didn’t have to have the latest toy or the biggest house. All I knew is that as soon as I drop my school bag at home, everyone will be ready outside, waiting to play. All we had were simple things like marbles, cheap dolls, chalk. We also took care of each other when we went exploring the neighbourhood, going into the bushes, climbing hills and many more adventures.

I’m happy that I had the privilege to experience such and amazing childhood but I am also sad that my grandkids will probably not have the opportunity to enjoy that same magic.

Written by Anna Jeffery for Starts at Sixty.

Did you have a fun childhood?

  1. marilyn flynn  

    i grew up in the english countryside in the 60’s. we used to roam for miles with no supervision. it was fantastic! Yes like you I do feel sorry for todays children, it seems to be all indoor technical based activities. No child could not like our way of growing up.

    • Anne roddick  

      I grew up in the middle of Glasgow, still the shelters from the war on view, we would jump from roof to roof, called jumping the dykes, great fun, we were out playing tag untill after dark, running and hiding streets and streets away, up the close (tenement building) the best time ever, certainly gone are the good days

  2. Doreen  

    I totally agree. When my young grandchildren came to visit, they were encouraged to play outside. I’m sure their parents thought we were trying to get rid of them. I hope they see the real reason, after all the comments.

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