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The current abundant social commentary and controversies cause me to think nostalgically about the concerns we had when I was a child. Anyone who has been around for fifty years or more can’t help but think about how much more complicated life has become. While we enjoy many of the current conveniences and social improvements, it’s also understandable that we cherish simpler times.

As I think about the arguments for and against vaccinations, I remember when the threat of polio was serious and there was never any question about being vaccinated. It baffles me to observe that this has become a freedom of choice issue rather than appreciating a medical community that wants to protect our children from diphtheria, pertussis, etc.

We worried about how long it would take until the pond at the park froze so we could get into our hand-me-down skates and attack the ice. Now we worry about our kids walking to and from the park without being kidnapped.

Going on a trip always resulted in challenges to find a radio station that would offer acceptable music. If you were very lucky, you had AM and FM, although the FM stations were much more difficult to find.  If you were luckier than that, you had a working antenna. Now most of us have satellite radio or a vast array of options that are either installed in our vehicles or available on a device of some type.

Shopping was more fun. As a child, I eagerly anticipated going downtown Chicago with Mom, traveling on the Illinois Central and having a special lunch at Marshall Field’s. Now we visit shopping malls on Black Friday (if we have the courage and patience to do so) or if we’re in the neighborhood. Shopping is generally online, impersonal and dependent upon deliveries by UPS, FedEx or USPS.

Yes, of course, we can’t go backwards. Life had its own scary realities such as fear of nuclear attack and conflicts in Southeast Asia. But it really seems regrettable that we can’t inject some of that earlier pleasure into twenty-first century techno-wizardry. Shalom.

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