I don't think its a "Back in the day" thing either... I actually do think kids need to be taught how to sit still in boring situations. I do try to avoid them, but at the same time, I have 3 (almost 4) kids. Life is going to be boring at some point. They need to quietly sit through a siblings Doctor appt. or a quick banking transaction that I need to do... I can't just leave them with a sitter or plug them into a screen for everything. I do have age appropriate expectations too though. My big girls both have little purses in the car with colored pencils and a notepad that they are welcome to bring anywhere they like... and my almost two year old has a match box car in his pocket at all times. If he can drive it quietly, its totally allowed.
We go to a church that has a kids program but my kids usually come with us, and there are small squeaks and noises here and there, and thats fine, grown ups make small noises occasionally too.
DD1 (7) DD2 (4) DS1 (22 months) Baby #4 EDD 7/13/14