Reflecting back upon those years when I was growing up, my first inclination is to think that things were much simpler than they are now. Upon further thought, I am not so sure whether they were simpler or we just had a different set of choices as to what to do with our time. Most of the activities that were available to us as children, are still available as choices, but for most of today’s children, the activities that we treasured are barely within their consciousness. Organized sports replace sandlot baseball and football games. Television and movies replace reading. Do-it-yourself video and computer games replace board games played with the family gathered around the kitchen table. Hobbies such as stamp and coin collecting are largely the province of those above the age of fifty.

I am certainly not against progress or change. I have designed and developed computer software for the last thirty years and have enjoyed every minute of my work. Still, I am not certain that all change is good. Those Saturday nights spent playing MonopolyŽ or cards with my parents and/or friends while eating freshly popped popcorn fostered family values and close friendships that seem lacking in many of today’s children. Sandlot sports were almost a year-round, daily activity that helped keep each of us in shape while developing our skills in sportsmanship without undue pressure. Today’s sports activities are frequently over-organized, are excessively competitive, and often place children under extreme pressure. It seems as if we have lost sight of the fact that the real purpose of those sports activities should be for our children to have fun. Books, such as Mark Twain's (Samuel L. Clemens) Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, widened our vocabularies, strengthened our skills in spelling and grammar, and provided wholesome entertainment. Many current video games emphasize violence and do little to promote a child’s education or stimulate their imagination.

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