What's new with Janey
29 August 2008

Imagination is more important than knowledge

There has been an explosion of ideas and technology the past ten years. These have mostly come from the creative kids who grew up in the 1960s and 70s. Decades where these kids grew up without electronic games, DVDs, multi channels on the TV and no one knew anything about mobile phones.

Yet their innovative ideas created the majority of the latest gizmos that dominate today’s society.
Children, who fell out of trees, stayed too long in the sun, drank out of ponds and more often than not spent summers with nothing more than a ball and a stick.

We made dens out of dirty blankets and tried to tame vicious dogs, we ate bread and sugar, stole rhubarb from gardens and ate it in bulk without washing it and we stayed out till 10pm in hot summer nights without mobile contact.

The kids I knew never had access to video cameras yet we played out scenes from Kung Fu movies and imagined the cameras to be right there capturing the action. We explained entire movies, scene by scene, summarising the plot to the kids who missed the latest block buster film. We played old tape cassettes of music we had copied from the radio so we could all dance in the hallway of our tenements. We were the generation that were just too early for the IPod, yet we made the best of what we had.

Kites were awesome and involved a lot of running, bikes were generally haphazard and often broken yet revered and kids knew how to build one from scratch, comics were swapped, toys were constantly repaired, roller skates were shared between a whole community of kids and a dirty old mattress became a trampoline for the summer.

We knew Michael Jackson when he was black, we were convinced Skippy the Bush Kangaroo could talk and we imagined the days when we could wear a watch that would display TV shows live to our wrist.

Who knew that the kids with no real toys would foster enough imagination to create the fantastic technology of today’s world?

The kids of the 1960s could only dream of a future world. The gadgets we saw on the old episodes of Star Trek would fire our imagination. All those hand held electronic devices that could transport people up and down the galaxies, made me excited about my future.

I personally believed back in the 70s that the Jolt Belt from the TV hit show the Tomorrow People would most certainly be available in the year 2000. Imagine how wonderful that could have been? We wouldn’t even need to remove our shoes for security purposes first! Just simply press a button and arrive at our chosen destination.

We were the generation that used our imagination and our unbridled passion to create the wonderful stuff that our kids enjoy today, yet we spent days with nothing but a wooden board, two old broken skates and the ability to make it into a small inner city push cart.

Today’s youngsters have no real idea how to occupy themselves without electronic goods; they wont know the joy of building a den or organising a spontaneous party that involved building a fire and roasting stolen potatoes from mums cupboard. Everything is done for them, wee girls are sexualised too soon and wee boys no longer get to dress as cowboys without being labelled gay.

The kids of the 70s have something that the children of today will never have- a childhood!_

1 Response

  1. hear hear!

    My mother’s friends are fascinated by my kids – we are the only family she knows of who take their kids to remote island, with no electricity or cars for their holidays! Our amusement is made exploring the island, scaring ourselves half to death with stories of what we think is round the next corner. In the evenings we play scrabble or jigsaws until we can’t see. If it’s nice, we sit out round a camp fire and burn things (not live things obviously) we yak until the early hours and sometimes if we are particulary perky – we sing.

    It is still there in all of us. We just have to dig a wee bity deeper.

    – re the Jolt Belt. Wow – We could have done with one of those this weekend – Friday down to BRistol – Monday back up – One of Said kids playing in the uk school games. Well worth the effort – And all these kids – well prepared to amuse themselves without gadgets – and I betcha your daughter is the same.