If you want to make tweens jealous of you, tell them about the USSR. They may not understand the Cold War, but they will be appalled to know that you were not required to learn the location of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, and their neighbors for the test on the countries in Asia in seventh grade social studies class.
(If you want to rub it in, mention that we did not have to know how to spell the names of those countries correctly, either.)
If you want to blow your tweens’ minds, explain to them life before DVDs and DVRs, and the idea of having one set, limited, finite window to watch a show. My daughter still doesn’t understand the idea of the airing of The Sound of Music as an annual event, not an on demand casual viewing whenever the mood strikes.
(If you want them to look at you oddly, mention that you would time bathroom breaks with commercials because there was no “pause” option available.)
If you want your tween to think you’re old, tell them how you used to sit by the radio waiting for a song to come on so you could record it. On a cassette. Worse yet, explain that mix tapes were hugely popular in college.
(If you are younger than I am and that was not your reality, please don’t feel compelled to tell me.)
When the Prince song “1999” is on the radio, tell them you remember hearing and dancing to that song when 1999 seemed like a long way away.
(Then really teach them about the awesomeness of Prince, and proceed to sing “Raspberry Beret” and “Little Red Corvette” and “Purple Rain.”)
If your kids love dystopian novels, see if they can even imagine a society where “landline” was all anyone had in terms of phones. Worse yet, those phones had cords, and you had to stretch them to achieve any kind of privacy for your conversations.
(Anyone else remember seeing how far those cords would go? Or even having a rotary phone?)
If you want to give your kids a peek into the past, explain that your parents often asked if you had a quarter with you before you left the house. Tell them that it was for use in a payphone when you needed to reach them or tell them practice was done.
(If you wish to truly horrify your kid, explain that you then waited for them to come get you, without a phone. You just waited.)
If you want to date yourself, tell your child how old you were when you first heard of email.
If you want to bring it full circle, tell your child about what has not changed in the world since you were a kid:
Prince is still considered cool.
Hard work and perseverance still get you places.
Having a sense of humor remains hugely important.
Honesty, respect for others, and good manners never, ever go out of style, no matter how much the world may change.
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