Changing times.

These changing times.

Watching the little children walking into their school today with their mobile phones held to their ears, their skate-boards and their bicycles, I couldn’t help but wonder just how radically the lives of our youngsters have changed.
But have they changed for the better?

When I was a young boy, about six years old, we never had to go to school laden down with huge back-packs filled with things that we might not even need that day. We just went.
The teacher had our school workbooks in a cupboard, along with pencils, rulers and erasers.
Today’s children need to be really strong to carry those huge back-packs to school and back home at the end of each school day.

After arriving home it is back to the mobile phone or onto the computer to play games, or to swap e-mails and SMS’s.

What a far cry from our two empty tins and a long string to relay message to one another!.

We played in the streets until bedtime.
We played “hide and seek” and “kick the tin”, running like the clappers to find hiding places from the seeker.
We dreamed of getting roller-skates for Xmas, but few were blessed with such luxuries.
A bogie, or a bike made from scrap parts, were real show-pieces to make our friends envious, and the girls would make chips using a cardboard box, two tin lids and a couple of small candles for a source of heat.

Saturday mornings saw us trooping into the local cinema to watch cartoons and serials with Buster Crabbe or Roy Rogers, or the Lone Ranger. No DVD’s for us.

Saturday afternoons were for swimming.
No Speedo’s for us.
A jersey with the sleeves cut off and the neck-opening stitched up were our fashion, all held up with a “snake belt”.
Happy days eh Alan?.

After swimming we would head off to the Park with a bottle of water and some jam sandwiches.
We’d fish for sticklebacks, and maybe someone with a net would collect frog-spawn, and we would troop back hoem to proudly display our catches to our parents.

All too soon bed-time would roll around, and it was off to bed, 7.30 p.m.not midnight!

We had respect for our parents, the police, and our neighbours too. Everybody was in charge of our conduct, no doubts about that!

We had next to nothing, but I think we had more than today’s children.


Your life was similar to mine much later, except that we did bring books home and do homework, and we watched quite a bit of TV.

Doctors claim that kids are getting spinal problems early due to the weight of their backpacks.

There’s a disturbing trend toward kids not playing outside. Part of the reason they’re not in the streets and yards playing is electronic media, but the other is that (at least in my country) the kids are overloaded with organized activities, so they have little or no spontaneous leisure to develop themselves on their own.

Asole had also visited Aladdin’s Lamp and two other shops but had not sold any toys. On finishing the story, she got dinner ready. After he had eaten and had a cup of strong coffee, Longren said: “Since we’ve failed we will have to look for something else. Maybe I should go to sea again — on the Fitzroy or perhaps the Palermo. Of course, the shopkeepers know their business,” he continued, in a thoughtful vein, still thinking about the toys. “Nowadays children do not play — they study. They are all studying, studying, and they’ll never begin to live. It’s all true, and it’s too bad, really too, too bad.”

Alexander Green, Scarlet Sails. (translated from Russian)

This was written 86 years ago.

Good morning, I think the demand for manual workers has reduced dramatically in today’s world.

With the closing of the many coal-mines, steelworks and timber yards, the “jobs for life” cycle has disintegrated. No longer can you find jobs in these once enormous industries, for they are no longer there to offer you work.

No more the once familiar sight of father and son working alongside each other in whatever job they had, following the family tradition of doing so.

Mechanisation has reduced the need for a manual workforce to pitiful figures. Today one has to study for a career, and compete with many other equally qualified young people.

Computer skills are the goal of today’s young people. If they have them, then their futures are pretty much assured, but they must remain up to the minute with the ever-changing technology lest they themselves find that they too have become “surplus to requirements”.

It will take nothing short of another war to bring gainful employment to those without these skills.

A sad statement to make, but one with more than a grain of truth therein.


Oh come on - this is turning into a grumpy old man session. I am very impressed with the imagination and optimism of young people today. Good luck to them!


Please listen to my recording and respond with a voice message too. Many thanks.

When I was 18, there were people who worked in the paint shops of automotive factories. They sprayed all day and breathed in toxic fumes, and even the paint itself, despite the fact that they wore protection. In the morning they were coughing up whatever color they had been working with the day before. They died early from lung ailments. Now robots do this job, and the descendants of these dead auto workers have clean jobs programming or operating the robots.

A similar thing happened to coal miners, who went deep into caverns at great personal risk and died early from breathing coal dust. Now much of this mining is done by robots, and the miners’ descendants can work clean jobs that are not hazardous to their health or longevity. The same goes double for uranium miners.

At that time there were also auto workers who ruined their knees and backs by kneeling for eight hours a day in a pit and sanding the floorboards of cars and trucks that passed over them. Now robots do this also, and the workers’ children don’t have to suffer the injuries they did.

When I was 18, graphic designers had to work all day with a whole array of toxic substances ranging from pigment vehicles like bestine, all the way to rubber cement. Some of these substances could cause lung or brain damage and could harm a pregnant designer’s unborn child. Today they create their graphics on computers, and not only do they seldom have contact with toxic substances, but they can be far more productive now.

When I hear that you’ve got a workplace with a lot of fathers and sons working side by side in the same capacity, that tells me that you’ve got a one-industry town where there is little chance of economic mobility unless one leaves. Thus people could not develop and exploit their own individual natural abilities. That is an economically inefficient situation in many cases.

I live in a place where, 30 years ago, it was easy to get a high-paying job with hardly any education. Since then, the correlation between education and skills on the one hand, and pay on the other hand, has become more realistic, and as our governor and others have proclaimed on numerous occasions, “All the stupid jobs are gone.” This presents tremendous opportunity to those who are willing to develop themselves, but those who don’t care to are being left behind. We can only hope their children will see the utility of education.

Jamie, you have completely misconstrued my tale.

I was talking about fifty years ago, and it wasn’t a one-horse town.

It had a thriving industrial workforce…
Steelworks working around the clock turning out plate steel as fast as the furnaces could heat the ingots to working temperature.

A shipyard producing ships to meet a constant demand.

Timber yards importing felled trees and turning out huge lorry-loads of finished timber daily.

Jobs were plentiful. OK, working conditions were dangerous and health destroying, but in those days there was little alternative.

My point is…today the non-computer literate have little chance of finding work.

Observe the unemployment figures in any city in the Western hemisphere, and compare them with other countries that took this work out of our hands by doing it cheaper, thanks to mechanisation which they adopted gratefully, whilst our Union led workforces were led into the slaughter house.


you are right kitosdad, your days was wonderful I mean old generation were having a rich life they taught them self by them self… their day was busy with different happy activities, but nowadays no tasty for memories no tasty for our day every thing come fast and go fast we get anything we want without tired…

I wish I were born in your days…