Now the school year has started again, its back to my usual Friday afternoon job, picking up grandchildren from school.
Only this year there is a change in that one still goes to primary school and the other secondary school, both schools miles apart, so I can only be in one place.
So, my job is to get the youngest granddaughter from primary school, and my wife has to get the other which, coincidentally, is more or less on the way home from work
The Friday afternoon routine of having both over for the afternoon and then dinner before we take them home is maintained.
Of course, who knows how long this will remain in place as children’s ideas about post-school activities might not eventually include spending time with grandparents.
At some point, the idea of hanging out with old people like us becomes a chore rather than a treat, though I’m guessing the open pantry and being spoilt might sway them for a little bit longer.
We are, I’m guessing, somewhat less restrictive than their parents, and we do not insist they do their homework which is probably what they should be doing.
For the time being, it is a time to discover what makes children tick in this modern world, which to me seems to be very different to when I was their age. We did not give television, computers, mobile phones or social media.
If you wanted to talk to your friends out of school, a parent had to take you, otherwise, it could wait. There was no calling them up on the phone, sending an email or a text. Not like these days where both have mobile phones
And, where we had to do homework or play outside using our imagination or hanging out with other street kids, these days both seem glued either to their computers or phones, playing games on the computer, texting friends, or watching TV.
It’s not the sort of TV I would watch, all screaming and violence, and it’s no wonder a lot of small children are traumatized at such a young age. Computer games are no better with extreme and very graphic violence. What do we really expect feeding them this sort of material?
And talking them into outdoor activities might be possible if it was not for the possibility of them being snatched off the street. It is indicative of the times, and whose to say it will not happen even if it hasn’t happened before in the neighborhood. Now it seems predators are everywhere.
Not in our time as children. Back then you were more likely to be assaulted by a parent or a relative. It was nothing to walk, as a seven or eight years old, for a mile or two alone on the street, to and from school, and not even think about being whisked away by a predator.
So, Friday afternoon, it’s not a time to dredge up the past. It’s where it belongs in the past. What I have to look forward to is another session with my youngest granddaughter playing a game that rewards you with carrots.
Oh, and having to be quite the horsewoman, fending off rivals, dodging bombs and dragons, in order to build up your carrots so that you can breed a better horse, and. of course, win more carrots.
I’m sure there’s a message there somewhere.