MONDAY MUSINGS – Parents and Kids: Now and Then

Monday – June 2, 2014 

I must admit that many of the comments below are cribbed from various Facebook commentaries in the public domain that I have massaged and edited to reflect a view of a way of growing up that doesn’t exist today. Now, mid-way between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I’d like to share:

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL BORN IN the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s!!  First, you survived being conceived by mothers who may have had more than a few cocktails or cigarettes while they carried you.  They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna salad from a tin, and didn’t get tested for diabetes or screened with ultrasound.  Then, after that trauma, your baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead based paints and your bedroom walls were insulated with asbestos.  You had no child tamper proof medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, and when you rode your bikes, you had no helmets.  I hesitate to mention the risks you took hitchhiking.  As children you rode in cars with no seat belts or airbags.  Riding in the back of a pick-up truck – standing up – was always great fun.  You drank water from the garden hose and shared your coke with four friends drinking from the same bottle – and NO ONE actually died from this.  You ate cakes, white bread and real butter; you drank soda pop and milk shakes, but you weren’t obese because … YOU WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!  You left home in the morning and could play all day as long as you were back home when the streetlights came on.  No one knew where you were all day, but you were OK.  You spent hours riding down hills on scooters and sleds, and after taking a few tumbles you learned how to handle them.  You did not have Playstations, , Nintendos, X-boxes, I-Pods; no  video games at all; no 199 channels on cable, no video taped movies, no mobile phones, no text messaging, no personal computers, no internet or internet chatrooms …. YOU HAD FRIENDS and you went outside and found them!!  You rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just shouted out for them. You fell out of trees, broke bones, got into fights, got cuts – and there were no lawsuits from these occurrences.  Local teams had tryouts and not everyone made the team.  Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with the disappointment.  Imagine that!  The idea of a parent trying to bail you out if you got bad grades, were disciplined at school or broke the law was unheard of.  They actually sided with the school and the law.  And this is a generation that has produced some of the best problem-solvers, risk takers and inventors ever!  The past 50 years has seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas. You had the freedom and responsibility to fail or succeed and you LEARNED HOW TO DEAL WITH IT!  And YOU are one of them!  CONGRATULATIONS!

It wasn’t until my wife and I had dinner out one night with our daughter and son, grown-up then in their mid-twenties (one with a daughter of her own), that I gained an appreciation for all of the above. Throughout the meal they cited incident after incident of what they thought would have been deemed  bad parenting during their childhood:  how my daughter was allowed to walk to school by herself everyday in the city when she was five, one mile each way;  how I pushed my four year old son’s sled down a steep hill and he ran into an iron fence and blacked his eye ( he learned to roll off before that ever happened again); how we took them to see JAWS when they were so young that they were afraid of sharks  at the beach for the rest of the summer; how they had to make their own breakfast everyday before school while their mother slept in; how they were left  home alone when they were 15 and 17 while the parents went to Europe for three weeks; and so on… and they told us some of the things they did that we didn’t know.  And we laughed together about it all for more than two hours.  They chided us for our so-called bad parenting ways, but they loved us for them.

p.s. They turned out pretty well. They know how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, ‘yes sir’, ‘no sir’ and ‘excuse me’; how to hold open the door for the person behind them.

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids – when Democrats and Republicans were often friends and tried to work together for the good of the country instead of themselves, and before their lawyers regulated our lives for what they thought was own good. And while you’re at it, forward it to your kids so they might know how their parents were raised.

Thanks for stopping by.




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