Friday Quickie – Old School


My son is participating in his first school fundraiser for the American Heart Association which requires him to raise money and jump rope at an event at his school. Easy-peasy except for the fact that he doesn’t know how to jump rope. Which made me start to wonder, what have his father and I been doing for the last 6 years? I was jump roping, riding a bike without training wheels and staying out until nightfall by his age. Where are the old school sensibilities that I’m supposed to pass on to the next generation? What else have I failed to teach him?

“Kiddo, do you know how to play hop scotch?” I asked.

“Yes, I learned it from watching Max and Ruby on TV,” he replied.

“What about hand clapping games? Didn’t I try to teach you one once?” I wracked my brain to remember…something about ice cream soda, Delaware punch…what the hell is Delaware punch?

“Well, Molly and Maria taught me at school. Lemonade, crunchy ice, beat it once, beat it twice, kick your boyfriend, touch the ground, turn around and freeze!” He froze dramatically in place.

“What about Mother May I? Rover Red Rover? Smear the…uh…guy…uh, person?”

“I learned those in preschool. What’s Smear the Guy Person?”

“Nevermind. Have I ever told you to go outside and play and not come home until it gets dark?” I asked.

“No,” he laughed, “you make me come in to have my snack.”

I began to stress about all the other things we haven’t done that I had done by his age: Camping, 4-wheel driving, sailboating, watching rated R movies in the drive-in theater when everyone thought I’d fallen asleep (The Exorcist, Saturday Night Fever). And those were just the things I could remember.

“Mommy,” he asked as he looked up at me with his sweet chocolate eyes, “do you want to watch me play Minecraft?”

Minecraft: A new game designed to look blocky and pixelated, like a relic from the Atari era. I guess that’s old school enough for me.


26 thoughts on “Friday Quickie – Old School

  1. Love how you so subtly touch upon feelings that are so complex for me. I think that as parents we are constantly in “compare” mode whether we’re comparing our kids to their peers, ourselves to other parents or our kids to ourselves their age and somehow we usually lose in that comparison. Not in this post. This is compassion. ❤


    1. Thank you Katia! I had these visions of what I thought parenthood would be like and nothing is like I expected. Probably the biggest surprise for me is that I can’t take the blame for all the bad anymore than I can take credit for all the good. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Just love you, Karen. Since I’m not a parent, I don’t quite know the depths of this and these feelings, but I have always told R that if we’re lucky enough to have children, I am resigned to the fact that we will mess them up. Not the same way we were messed up, but in different ways.

    No one is perfect, lovely one. So glad that we continue to live, love and try despite that fact.

    With heart,


    1. I think as long as I pass down my love for learning and curiosity, they’ll find their own adventures! One of the things that tells me I’m doing ok is when I watch my daughter play with her dolls. She speaks to them the same way I speak to her and it warms my heart. Thank you Dani! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My kids are Minecrack kids too! lol Annnnd my oldest is also doing the jumprope for heart health thing next week! ha Definitely different times between the way our kids are growing up and the way we did.


  4. My 11 year old can’t ride a bike, but he has beaten the enderdragon. Lol
    Mine raft, five nights at Freddy’s, gmod.

    Whatever. The future of work will be technological and these games, mine craft in particular, are pretty educational.

    I loved that south park. Well, I love all South Park. It’s just too smart.


    1. My son talks about the Ender Dragon all the time! What I love about Minecraft is that you don’t have to buy anything and there are no ads. My son has the little figurines too so when his game time is over he can keep imagining. And you’re right, it’s a lot more educational than a lot of games out there!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember those days, too and had a similar moment over a hula hoop. How did they not know? Fortunately our neighborhood’s child population has grown and the kids on our secluded block do roam from house to house until dusk. I know how lucky we are to be able to do that.
    Thanks for the nostalgia, and the reminder. Those kids will be sleeping in a tent this summer… 🙂


  6. Hey there. I speak from experience here; while not yet a parent myself, I’ve worked with kids for many years and have encountered this firsthand.

    It’s not your imagination, and it’s not just you as a parent. Tons of kids these days don’t know how to play outside or play with others unless there’s an adult involved directing the play, or if it’s a video game that guides and shapes the play for you.

    This is a major reason for the stunted emotional growth we see among so many kids. They have no idea how to negotiate because they’ve never had to resolve their own disputes during a game; they’re short in the creativity department because they don’t invent games to play with their friends; they’re lacking basic hands-on skills because they’ve never had to hammer a nail, change a bike tire, or build a campfire. Basically, they live a life where the literal walls have also become figurative ones.

    And it doesn’t have to be this way. Crime – all crime – is at its lowest rates since we were kids. Stranger abductions are statistically rarer than getting struck by lightening. There is no reason not to take the kids to the park and sit there with a book while they run around and get dirty and have fun.

    The book Free Range Kids sums this all up better than I possibly could, and there’s a website as well. I own two copies of the book – one for me, and one for lending. I can’t recommend it highly enough.


    1. I totally get what you’re saying. I limit the amount of time my kids can play computer games because otherwise they would never stop. My kids play outside but they only play with each other. When I was a kid, I played with a bunch of kids in the neighborhood and we had free range to go to each other’s houses and yards. That doesn’t happen these days (at least where we live). They love it when I take them to a park and there are other kids there. The only other time they get that kind of interaction is during recess at school and it’s monitored play so it’s not the same. I’ll definitely check out that book. Thanks for the suggestion!


  7. Ah-HA….THAT’S why you punch the trees?
    This post was awesome and I loved it for so many reasons.

    First of all, thanks for a brief trip back to childhood. Holy cr*p, I totally played “smear the…uh…guy…uh, person,” sneaked (snuck?)! And, I watched R-rated movies when I babysat the family who had, yikes, SATELLITE t.v. with HBO.

    Secondly, thanks for the Minecraft education. Honestly, I thought Dane was telling a fabricated story when he’d take me through the labyrinths and landscapes and said he’d built them by punching trees.
    You called me a ‘seasoned mom’ earlier today…I think clueless captures it more accurately 🙂


    1. Hubby and I were reminiscing the other day about trying to watch scrambled porn on cable and trying to figure out what was going on!

      I don’t think anyone our age should be allowed to understand Minecraft too much, unless we live in our parents’ basement. Just sayin’. You’re still my role model! 🙂


  8. Gah! Now I’m feeling guilty right along with you. We were over at my parents’ house the other day helping them clean out, since they are preparing to move out of my childhood home (ugh, that’s a whole other thing). And I was looking at all my old toys, especially all the “outside” toys. Neither of my kids can roller skate, and I used to go out and roll around my driveway for hours. As soon as it warms up, I think I need to start mandating outside time. It’s sad.


    1. You just had to bring up roller skating, didn’t you? I totally forgot about that! I LIVED in my roller skates. I did take my kids to a birthday party at a roller rink once and we even went bowling once. My husband and I are even contemplating taking them to play miniature golf. Contemplating counts, right? I can’t blame the weather. It’s 80 degrees here. I think I just need to act like a kid and get creative again!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You made me laugh. I do the same thing…beat myself up for all the things I’m doing “wrong” with my 10 and 3 year olds. My 10-year-old has no idea how to play hop scotch or how to jump rope. And Red Rover was banned from school. But he does know how to play Indiana Jones, some clapping game I never heard of. And today he is home sick and has called me 3x in the last hour to come check out what he built on Minecraft. Watching him move Steve around makes me so dizzy. I have to look away from the screen! Anyway, don’t fret…I am willing to bet money that your son will never sit across from a therapist and complain that you never taught him how to jump rope. 🙂


    1. Haha! One of the best things anyone ever told me was that we’re all going to screw up our kids, just not in the way we think. My kids did Rover Red Rover in preschool but they ran across the room to get hugs. Definitely a kinder and gentler version than I remember!

      I try to watch what my son shows me on Minecraft but it’s mostly a blur. I’ve actually learned a lot from reading him countless Minecraft books but I still can’t figure out how he makes the stuff he makes. And the noises those villagers make…what’s up with that?


  10. HA! Hilarious! I tell my oldest all the time how I was practically shoved out the door in morning and then didn’t come back until dinner. Maybe I checked in for lunch. We taught our girls ghost in the graveyard and camp out in our backyard a couple times a summer. My oldest learned to ride her bike way late (8?) and my youngest has been riding for a year. These kids are all different, but I don’t think they miss what they don’t know to miss. We know Jump Rope for Heart well. As a matter of fact, I made a donation for my youngest so she’ll hopefully get the splatter duckie today. My oldest and I will go to watch her younger sister jump rope in the gym in a couple of weeks. I’m taking her out of school early (shhh!), something my parents never did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those ducks! We only found out about Jump Rope for Heart a few days ago and I wanted to skip it but then they showed the kids a video in his class and he came home wanted those ducks! My parents never would’ve taken me out of school early for anything and they never went on field trips or volunteered in the class. It was definitely different back then!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank God for that! I don’t remember my parents specifically trying to teach me things, just expose me to life. That’s really how we get the good stuff. 🙂

      I think Minecraft is pretty cool too. Even my 4 year old daughter likes it!


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