Our Childhood v Their Childhood

If you are on Facebook, then you probably have come across that chain message spamming about the childhood of those born in the early 80’s and beforehand, which continues about how we should be dead. I’ve seen it many times but when I read one of them in the last hour, it reminded me of a few things. But first, here is what I read;

Are You Getting Old?


According to today’s regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s probably shouldn’t have survived, because our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint which was promptly chewed and licked.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to play with pans.

When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip-flops and fluorescent ‘spokey dokey’s’ on our wheels.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags and riding in the passenger seat was a treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle and it tasted the same.

We ate chips, bread and butter pudding and drank fizzy juice with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.

We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no-one actually died from this.

We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then went top speed down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and could play all day, as long as we were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us and no one minded.

We did not have Play stations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. No 99 channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no DVDs, no Internet chatrooms.

We had friends – we went outside and found them.

We played elastics and bullrush. We fell out of trees, got cut, and broke bones but there were no law suits.

We played knock-the-door-run-away and were actually afraid of the owners catching us.

We walked to friends’ homes.

We also, believe it or not, WALKED to school; we didn’t rely on mummy or daddy to drive us to school, which was just round the corner.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls.

We rode bikes in packs of 7 and wore our coats by only the hood.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of…they actually sided with the law.

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. And you’re one of them.


Pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow as real kids, before lawyers and government regulated our lives, for “our own good”.

For those of you who aren’t old enough, thought you might like to read about us.

This is surprisingly frightening……and it might put a smile on your face:

The majority of students in universities today were born in 1986…. The Uptown Girl they know is by Westlife not Billy Joel. They have never heard of Rick Astley, Bananarama, Nena Cherry or Belinda Carlisle.

For them, there has always been only one Germany and one Vietnam.

AIDS has existed since they were born.

CD’s have existed since they were born.

Michael Jackson has always been white.

To them John Travolta has always been round in shape and they can’t imagine how this fat guy could be a god of dance.

They believe that Charlie’s Angels and Mission Impossible are films from last year.

They can never imagine life before computers.

They’ll never have pretended to be the A-Team, the Dukes of Hazard or the Famous Five.

They can’t believe a black and white television ever existed.

And they will never understand how we could leave the house without a mobile phone.

Now let’s check if we’re getting old…

1. You understand what was written above and you smile.

2. You need to sleep more, usually until the afternoon, after a night out.

3. Your friends are getting married/already married

4. You are always surprised to see small children playing comfortably with computers.

5. When you see children with mobile phones, you shake your head.

6. Having read this, you are thinking of forwarding it to some other friends because you think they will like it too…

Yes, you’re Getting old!!


And so this got me thinking a few things about MY childhood. For example, I did experiments to see what would happen such as sucking the white stuff out of weeds growing in the yard, chewed on broken glass of a windscreen and my favourite, seeing what it felt like to have an electric shock where I uncovered the wires of my mother’s vacuum cleaner first touching with a dry hand, followed by a hand wet with water. Believe me, the latter hurts…a lot! And no, I did not do it again.

I also played with a pretty Sydney Funnelweb Spider which, for those who do not know, is an aggressive spider whose venom can kill within 20 minutes and whose bite must be treated as if bitten by a highly venomous snake. Its fangs can piece the sole of a workman’s boot. Yet here I was, knowing fully the danger of this species of spider, started to play with the spider which was aggressive at first but in the end, would come out from her hiding space in the window frame of the garage and to the desk and walk right up to me. She even walked on my hand and sat before walking back to her home.

When I was in primary(elementary) school, there was one thing I did that would see the world cave in now and no, I do not urge children to do this. I packed my school uniform in my school bag and walked fully naked, up the road and to the park near my school where I dressed myself. Sure, plenty of cars drove by. None stopped. No Police cars rushed to where I was seen walking naked along the road in the morning. I would imagine that doing this would see people ringing the Police and investigating all sorts of things.

I had this 10 speed racer. It was my all time favourite bicycle. My eldest brother gave me his bike which we stripped back to a bare frame, rubbed back the rust and painted it black. I can’t remember where or how it got a speedometer which I attached to the bike which was cool as it allowed me to see how fast I was going. Or rather, how fast I could go. On the right road such the highway down the mountain and onto the straight, I could reach up to 90km(56 miles). Once I sped past a Police car at 10km’s over the limit. The Police drove up beside me and the passenger cop tic tocked this finger side to side then drove off. Today, I imagine I would have been pulled over and quite possibly fined for speeding.

Now on a more serious issue, I was always getting injured with bruises and sprains and fractured bones. Some of it due to being a boy having fun, much of it from having a problem with falling down a lot due to a growth issue in my knees. I was visiting the local hospital emergency unit a lot. I spent a lot of time in bandages and on crutches. In fact, some people were shocked to see me uninjured leading them to ask me if I was alright.

Sadly, in today’s world, were I a child today, I believe that I would have been stolen by those so called child safety workers. When my eldest was about 18 months old, she slipped on the wet bathroom floor and earned herself a fracture in the tibia. My wife and I were investigated by social workers for it. Someone I knew who was working in the public health system at the time told me that they had to refer to child injuries off as suspect child abuse. And we wonder why these Departments are snowed in by far too many cases of alleged child abuse when in reality, most of allegations are not cases of abuse at all. One Police Detective told me that at least 60% of complaints are not matters of child abuse but a matter of people disagreeing with the method of raising children.

And you know what else I did? I use to take those pins used to hold up hems waiting to be sewn and pushed them through the skin of my fingers. Never deep enough to cause bleeding. I am so glad I am not a child today but at the same time, my two eldest children are happy with how raise them. They have said so because they see how other children are raised and it looks like a prison to them.


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