As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the passenger seat was a treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle - it tasted the same.
We ate dripping sandwiches, bread and butter pudding and drank fizzy pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing.
Our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint which was promptly chewed and licked.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to play with pans.
When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip flops and fluorescent clackers' on our wheels.
We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no one actually died from this.
We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then went top speed down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us all day and no one minded.
We did not have Playstations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. No 99 channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet chat rooms. We had friends - we went outside and found them.
We played elastics and street rounders, and sometimes that ball really hurt.
We fell out of trees, got cuts and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits. They were accidents. We learnt not to do the same thing again.
We had fights, punched each other hard and got black and blue- we learned to get over it.
We walked to friend's homes.
We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate live stuff, and although we were told it would happen, we did not have very many eyes out, nor did the live stuff live inside us forever.
We rode bikes in packs of 7 and wore our coats by only the hood.
Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
For children growing up now…
They have never heard of we are the World, we are the children, and the Uptown Girl they know is by Westlife not Billy Joel.
For them, there has always been only one Germany and one Vietnam.
AIDS has existed since they were born.
CD's have existed since they were born.
Michael Jackson was always white.
To them John Travolta has always been round in shape and they can't imagine how this fat guy could be a god of dance.
They can never imagine life before computers.
They'll never have pretended to be the A Team, Red Hand Gang or the Famous Five.
They'll never have applied to be on Jim'll Fix It or Why Don't You.
They can't believe a black and white television ever existed and don't even know how to switch on a TV without a remote control.
And they will never understand how we could leave the house without a mobile phone and travel on a bus.
I wish I knew who was responsible for this so that I could credit them. It's something that was flying around the Internet a long time ago and has always stuck in my mind. I think about it from time to time when trying to 'keep it real'.