When I was your age…

When I was your age…

What chores or family jobs or even punishments that you had as a kid will your children or grandchildren not have to do?

This topic came up during the latest Jumping Monkeys podcast. One of the hosts, Leo LaPorte, says that he used to be tasked with rolling coins into wrappers, but now he just takes jars of coins down to the Coinstar machine at the supermarket.

I remember doing that as a family. There would be big piles of coins on the dining room table, which we’d separate out into pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. We’d stack them up into piles of ten, twenty, or fifty (for the pennies) until there were neat stacks spread across the table. (Dangerously so, if you ask me. One good bump and those neat stacks would have gone flying.) Then we’d drop them into the tubes, crimp the ends and write our bank account on the sides. Off they would go to the bank.

Is the loss of this ritual a loss? I don’t think so. There’ll be something else to replace it, I’m sure. After all, a generation before me might have bonded over canning fruits and vegetables.

Another task Leo mentioned was shining all the family’s shoes (which he received as a punishment.) While I’m sure most people still have leather dress shoes, I think they’re less likely to have as many pairs or require as much polishing, since polishes and shoe leather have advanced in technology. Plus as a less formal people, we wear dress shoes less, substituting sneakers or sandals or boots or the like.

I asked the question on my Facebook page and received a few answers so far. One guy, about my age, says his children was have to walk to school or have a paper route. I know I’ll be surprised if there are such things as paper boys or girls in my grandchildren’s time. Another respondent says her kids won’t be weeding the family vegetable garden like she did, since they have such a small yard. Another, a deacon old enough to have grandkids and be retired, says he used to empty the water bucket under the ice box and gather wood kindling and coal along the railroad tracks for the kitchen stove.

So how would you answer the question?

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli