I was in the hardware store today. Up on the wall were several pictures of early 20th century Jourdanton, including many of the old businesses that lined Main St. and other areas near the courthouse.
Chatting with the employees we quickly decided that our grandparents definitely lived in a different world than we do. We also agreed that our kids are inheriting a vastly different culture than we grew up in. In the span of less than a century we have gone from sitting on our front porch and socializing with our neighbors to oft times becoming virtual prisoners to technology in our own homes. “Facetime”, webcams and other modern technology has replaced much of the person to person contact that was the norm for previous generations. In fact many times parents now struggle to get their kids to go outdoors, ride their bike, or build a fort. The digital age is swallowing up a generation.
In my brief conversation at the hardware store we decided that our childhood was better in many respects to what today’s kids get to experience. When we needed to do a book report we had to go to the library and get out an encyclopedia. We didn’t come home until the streetlights came on. We rode our bikes wherever we needed to go and when we wanted to talk to our friends, we went to their house or spoke to them on the only phone in the house (it was usually in the kitchen and had a cord attaching it to the wall!) If we missed a TV show, we had to wait until next week.
Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that we have the cumulative knowledge of mankind at our finger tips (Google!), but it was kind of neat to have to wait for the next hot rod magazine to hit the shelves at the grocery store to see what cool cars would be on display or to actually check a real mailbox for a letter from family or friends.
I fear that the notion of having whatever you need…in an instant, is not always such a great idea. I hope I can successfully instill in my kids and those around me that it is ok to slow down. Put your phone down, turn off your iPad.
Just think…of the 6 billion+ people on the earth, we are among the very select few who get to call South Texas home. We can be at the coast in just over an hour or in the Hill Country in the same amount of time. We can sip a margarita in the shadow of the Alamo. We can hunt world class whitetails or catch record breaking bass, just like our grandparents did. And we can do it without the internet or a 4G signal.
I love technology but once in a while it’s great to do things the old fashioned way. And is there any better place to do it than our part of Texas?
So you’ll have to excuse me as I step away from this computer, it’s time to unplug and enjoy an evening on the back porch with a glass of iced tea…the same way my grandpa used to.
Until next time, Eric Kaiser
ERIC KAISER is the Chief of the Jourdanton Police Department and is a Master Texas Peace Officer.