How Did We Survive Our Childhood?


And this isn’t dangerous? Mall of Ameria.

It’s amazing my children grew up. It’s amazing I grew up. After all, my kids played with toys and had experiences that now would be considered unsafe. I grew up with toys that were much more hazardous to my health than children’s toys today and yet, here I am.

Recently I read an article that said Grandparents were a detriment to their grandchildren. In fact, there are classes for grandparents to teach us the new rules of parenting and taking care of children when we are sitting with our grandkids.

I don’t dispute we need to know the new rules for feeding and I learned no talcum powder on their little bodies. When my grandkids were born I remember having no idea what a diaper genie was, and I wondered how in the world I heard my kids without baby monitors. Some of these new gadgets are wonderful.

This week there was news which I thought was a little over-the-top. First I heard about the bus driver who always took the busload of kids to the Dairy Queen for a treat on the last day of school but this year a parent complained.

Another news item caught my attention at the same time. It was a note a teacher sent home to a mother chastising her because they didn’t approve of the packed lunch for the child. The teacher felt the treat the mother sent with the lunch was not an appropriate food choice because it was full of sugar, the offending food item is an Oreo cookie.

The final news story which caught my eye was an article about the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending no fruit juice for children under one year of age. The reason—it will cause obesity and cavities in children.

In regards to the bus driver and ice cream— apparently, the bus driver’s job and the yearly tradition of taking kids to Dairy Queen on the last day of school by the bus drivers is now in danger. Bob Collins of MPR News addressed the problem with this statement: “This might be a tradition best left to die in a changed world. Thanks to the creeps among us, school bus drivers can no longer be trusted with kids.” That is a harsh statement in my estimation. If the bus driver was known to the community and trusted the entire year to drive those kids, and he didn’t take any of the kids alone but in a group then he should be trusted to take the kids to Dairy Queen. Don’t stop the treat, just change the communication and let parents sign a release for their kids to have a treat. It was an act of kindness made into a something the kids now might think of as a scary option on the last day of school. Don’t judge all because of a few Mr. Collins. We need to not parent out of fear.

As far as packing a school lunch is concerned, notes like this seem to pop up all over the country. Since when have parents lost the right to package a lunch and include a sweet treat? I would take offense at the school deciding what I can feed my child. I would rather my child ate something for lunch instead of throwing it in the trash because they didn’t like it.

The fruit juice recommendation threw me a little. Fruit juice, cereal and more were all healthy recommendations in the “olden days” for our toddlers. Fruit juice used to be healthy and now it is a detriment to those young children’s health right up there with candy.

I may be one of those grandparents who need a grandparent class to learn how to raise kids in 2017 so I can keep my grandkids safe.  I will admit that I did get hurt growing up and so did my kids.

I will share one instance with you. I had a tin wire tower for marbles. It wasn’t fancy like they are today. I decided to see if my fingers fit in the holes of the tower. And what did I find? They fit but they wouldn’t come out. The tower had to be cut apart with tin snips so my parents could get my fingers out. Did they call the toy manufacturer because it was a dangerous toy? No! They told me I should never do that again. Were they bad parents for this accident happening? No, it was an accident made by a silly decision of a kid.

All of this news made me anxious and thankful I don’t have any more kids to raise. It would be stressful trying to remember all these rules so I wouldn’t get in trouble as a parent. It seems we have thrown out good old-fashioned common sense when raising children.

My advice is to love your children. Make sure they know you love them. And use common sense when keeping them safe and in how you take care of them. The news and recommendations will change tomorrow. What you do today will be wrong tomorrow. And you know how we all dislike being wrong?


Mother’s Always Have Your Back!

mom on hillGood Morning. mom2121jpg

Mother’s Day is approaching. How will you spend your day? I miss my mother. We didn’t always get along. We were both head strong people with very different personalities. As I have gotten older, I now realize why she was the way she was. Life changed her. My mother didn’t have an easy life, and I must admit, I probably didn’t make her life any easier.

She loved her grandkids and she loved me. She developed Alzheimer’s in her later years. The last two years of her life in the nursing home she was funny, cute, and a witty old woman. I suspect she was the person she was before life hit and responsibilities changed her.

I wish I could tell her all I now understand and say “I’m sorry,I didn’t understand”. She was a strong woman and when I was younger I didn’t want to be like my mom, but now I recognize that I want that strength. I want the keep-going attitude. She taught me that. In the last two years of her life she didn’t always know who I was, but I know that she would never choose to forget me. I chose to enjoy the humor and try and guess who I would be in her mind each time I visited her.

When my mother died I was going through an upsetting time in my life. She knew nothing about this.  The last evening I visited, where she fell ill hours later, she said to me, not knowing I was going through a tough time, “God knew what he was doing. He has a plan and it will all work out.” My mother never talked about God. This was an unusual thing for her to say and I knew that she was going to leave our world and leave me. I was right, I got the call hours later. She went from the healthy woman I visited earlier in the evening to being ready to leave this earth will an illness.

I was an only child. My mother, in spite of our differences and our arguments, always had my back, and I always had hers. We spent every Christmas, every Easter and every Mother’s Day together. Some of those holidays it was only for a few hours but I never missed one holiday with my mom in her 93 years.

I miss her. I hear her whispers when I need courage. I wish I had showed her more respect and more love. On this Mother’s Day, spend time with your mother. Make your mother feel special so you don’t have any regrets. A mother is your biggest fan and your biggest supporter. She will be honest and tell you when you are making mistakes. You might not always like what she says, but she will always have your back, and that includes being honest about your behavior. A mother will risk your wrath to change your life or make it better. A mother is love and when your mother is gone, you will never know another love like that in your life, but your will pass that love along to your children. Happy Mother’s Day. Take time to make your mother feel cherished always.

Ryan and Grandma Young1                  mom22

Listen And You Shall Hear?

Column: Something About Nothing  published in the Albert Lea Tribune and Courier Sentinel week of January 13, 2014

My granddaughter got a cellphone for Christmas. She is 11 and a very responsible young lady. I was excited because now I could text her and actually call and talk to her directly. I didn’t have to wait for the right time and for her to be with her father so I could talk to her.

My other granddaughter got an iPod with texting ability for Christmas. I was probably more excited than the girls were, because I didn’t have to rely on their parents anymore for communication with my granddaughters. Since they live hours away, I don’t have the joy of being a grandmother where my grandchildren can drop in for a visit on a whim.

I make sure I send a text in the morning wishing my granddaughters a good morning and I also send one at night. I always receive a response. Occasionally I add a cute little saying. As I was pounding out a message on the keys of my cellphone one day I thought about my childhood and my kids’ teenage years. I wondered how our young people today would tolerate the kind of communication that I or my children had.

I was a chatty child and I still am a chatty adult. My friends would call or I would call when we were in grade school. We only were able to talk for a few minutes before a neighbor would come on the party line and tell us they wanted to use the phone.

If a neighbor or an operator didn’t break in on us when we were having a long conversation we would become suspicious and listened for the clicks to see if we could hear anyone listening in on our phone conversations. We didn’t want to say anything that we didn’t want anyone else to hear.

That didn’t mean we didn’t think it wasn’t fun to pretend to hang up and be very quiet so we could listen to what are neighbors were saying. I know we are concerned now with our privacy, but back then there was no privacy either because everyone was snooping quietly on the telephone line.

I was lucky. I was an only child and the only people I had to compete with for wanting the phone were my parents, but in households with many kids and especially teenagers, they all had to compete for time on that one phone.

When my kids lived in our household we may have had more than one phone in the house but we didn’t have caller ID, so we didn’t know when the phone rang who the call was for. I still remember all the hollering up and down the stairs calling the person to the phone. We also were tethered to the phone. We did have the convenience of long cords, but we didn’t have the convenience of cordless phones. Now I can’t stand being tethered to a wall phone.

With cellphones, everyone in the household each seems to have their own. We can call, text, Facetime and whatever, without the others in the household knowing we are on the phone. We can get in touch with our kids wherever they are, if they answer the phone. Many times when I call my kids they don’t answer, but they answer their texts right away. When my grandchildren are teenagers and go out and about, my kids will be able to be in touch with them.

I can imagine the sleepless nights my parents had when I missed curfew. Maybe I can imagine my parents worry because I had kids that missed curfew or weren’t where they said they were supposed to be when I checked on them. Not only could I not check on them unless they were at a house that had a phone, I couldn’t look them in the face and give them the look to get the point across like we can do now with Facetime or Skype.

What about the wife that used to go on the day long shopping trip and didn’t want her husband to know what city and what shops she was in?

I think of the commercial that is out now for Fleet Farm and the Big Boys Toyland. The husband is going ice fishing and the wife is going to the spa. They could have tracked each other’s cellphones and not be surprised to find each other at Fleet Farm instead of fishing or the spa.

In the olden days that didn’t happen. I wonder how many bartenders back before cellphones wanted to rip the phones out of the wall to keep the wives from calling their husbands to come home. Now those wives have a direct line. Of course, it doesn’t mean the husbands answer or that the wives on a shopping trip don’t turn off their phone.

Life has gotten easier to track people down. We don’t have to wait for busy signals because now we have voicemail. We don’t have to lose our voice calling our kids to the phone and reminding them to get off of the phone because we need to use it. We don’t have to listen in on our neighbor’s phone conversations because they are probably having that conversation on Facebook, and they forgot to set their privacy settings so we can still snoop but with less of a chance at being caught. I must admit the phone game was still kind of fun back in the days.

Communication has gotten easier. I for one hope to use the texts I send to my grandchildren as a time to send them some positive vibes that may make their day a little brighter.

I wish I would have found the following positive quote earlier. I would have used it on my parents when they wanted the phone.

“Talking is always positive. That’s why I talk too much.” — Louis C.K.

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every