Kids today vs kids of yesteryear


By Timothy Johnson

Preacher’s Point

Even as an adult, I loved hearing my parents discuss their childhood. Both mom and dad were from the “hollers” of West Virginia. “Holler” in West Virginia speak, is the land of nothing flat, the land of hills and valleys; to the rest of us, it is where Hillbillies live before they move to Beverly Hills.

My most memorable story from Mom is when she was eight, and her father woke everyone up in the middle of the night. There were eight children in all. It was pouring down rain. Grandma and Grandpa got the kids out of the house and went up the hillside. Slipping in the mud, grabbing ahold of trees, my grandparents driving them like cattle. The family sat down when they arrived near the top of the hill. Sitting there, they watched their home lift off its foundation and speed away down the valley.

My favorite story from my dad is far less tragic. Dad was the oldest of five; he was in his early teens at the time of this story. There was a large tractor tire lying on top of the hill. Dad and his next youngest brother discovered that the youngest boy (five years old) could fit inside the tire. They put him in it and rolled the thing down the hill. The tire hit a rock and bounced off the ground. My Uncle, inside the tire, started to scream. The rolling tire and the sounds coming from it got the attention of the dozen or so cows the family owned. The cows stampeded. They ran through the fence and made a path through the neighbor’s cornfield and his fence on the opposite side of the field. When they reached the creek, they stopped. Dad and his brothers ended up mending two fences and working for the neighbor as a free farmhand to pay for the damage to the corn. Those were the days.

There are many other stories. Technology is the most significant difference between my parents’ childhood and mine. My dad’s mom had no inside toilet until I was a teenager (the 1970s). My grandmother on my mom’s side did not have a telephone until the mid-sixties.

Now that I am in my sixties and have 14 grandchildren, I am entertained by the amazement of my grandchildren when I tell them how life was in the “good old days” of the 60s and 70s.

Phones were attached to the wall by a cord. The only people with phones in their cars were doctors, lawyers, and other millionaires. I did not see a home computer until my 20s. We had black and white TV with only three channels. No one walked around with a water bottle in one hand. Did bottled water exist in 1968? I ran around outside until I was red in the face, and my mom called me inside. She would sit me on the couch and yell at me, telling me I would die of heat stroke.

Life was different for sure, but it went a lot deeper than phones, things with screens, and our hydration habits.

Baseball was big in my home as a child. During the summer, we would attend a Cleveland Indians game 5-6 times a season. Even the three years we lived in California when the Indians were in town, we would go to the ballpark.

I was about eight years old. We were at the ballpark watching The Tribe. A few rows behind us, a man yelled at something that happened on the field. He included the word “damn.” Dad turned around and politely said, “Hey, watch it. There are women and children around here.” The man apologized, and I did not hear a cuss word the rest of the day.

Does anyone ask anybody to watch their language anymore? If someone did, would it start an argument full of profanity? In my youth, women would blush at the utterance of certain words. Today, many women can cuss with the best drunken sailor – and so can the kids. A significant difference between now and five or six decades ago is instead of protecting the innocent from filth, the innocent participate in the filth.

Today, the F word is used as an adjective in everyday conversation.

Another way that things have changed is sex. Some kids of my generation stayed virgins until they were married; some. became parents while still in high school. Today, we see twelve and thirteen-year-old mothers and fathers. Today’s world believes a relationship is in serious trouble if sex has not occurred by the third or fourth date.

In the past, I have written in detail about how mass shootings were unheard of fifty years ago, and now they are so common they are no longer first-page news.

We did not need metal detectors and armed guards in schools in my day.

It was a different world.

Yes, today’s kids grow up differently than the kids of yesteryear. Phones and television have changed by leaps and bounds, and they are only the tip of the iceberg regarding technological differences.

But it is the other differences that are killing us. The violence, the sex, selfishness, and the unwillingness to protect women and children are only a few.

What changed? We have taken God out of society. When society removes the pure and holy, the void fills with vulgarness, violence, and filth.

What kind of stories will our grandchildren tell their kids and grandkids? Will they be stories of fun with siblings and friends or stories filled with profanity and filth?

Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County Indiana. Website:; Email: [email protected]; Mail: 25 W 1200 N; Kingman IN 47952. Facebook: All Scripture KJV.

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