Homeschool Mom: My girls have been studying Colonial life. I was struck by the social advancements that kids have made in the last 250 years. In Colonial America, kids were used as labor and helped increase their parents' output of work. Children's days consisted of chores and crafts and things that would increase their abilities to be helpful. Kids were encouraged to be humble and to recognize that it was only by the hard work of their parents that they were kept alive -- so they had better be grateful and jump in there to help as well, or there would be no victuals on the table. Nowadays, kids rule the roost and parents are treated like staff. Here's a small example of things that prove there has been an enormous shift of power:
• Kids used to have to stand while the parents enjoyed eating at the table, and kids were only seated when the grownups were done. Parents now serve meals to their kid while the kid lounges in front of the TV watching his favorite show.
• Kids had chores to do from sunup to sundown. Now parents drive, cater to and take care of their kid's every possible need. To kids, making their beds and picking up after themselves are considered chores.
• Toys were made from soap or cornhusks or some discarded wood. If you were lucky, you would get these homemade frivolities. Do I even need to write the words to describe the industry and amounts of money that we now devote to a kid's entertainment? I can't do it. It's too painful.
• At 12, kids were sold into indentured servitude, called "apprenticeships." They would work for room and board and some change, and in exchange they would be prepared for work in a trade. Now parents mortgage their homes, use their retirement savings and basically sell themselves into indentured servitude to make sure "Pooky" has some means to take care of his entitled behind.
• Parents had ten kids, knowing that only three would probably survive into adulthood. Now we have one or two -- and do our best to make sure they never become functional adults by coddling them to death.
Is it just me, or is there anyone else who'd like to turn back time -- even if it's just a fleeting daydream?