Changing with the times?
Article by M Teresa Clayton
Yesterday, Yesteryear, Yester-generation
Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. - Deuteronomy 32:7
I often think back to more innocent times, the days and years of my childhood. Things were so much simpler then and, in comparison to today, there seemed to be a ‘forever’ in our future.
I look at my children and my grandchildren and wonder what happened. It was less apparent with my children however this world today is frightening, and I worry for my grandchildren.
WAIT! STOP THE PRESSES!
Are things so different?
I’m not talking about technologies and discoveries making things different for kids today. I am talking about our reaction to these new technologies and discoveries.
Okay, stay with me.
I started this article thinking that this generation will never know how simple and innocent life used to be. What I did not expect was hearing the voice of my Grandmother coming out of my mouth.
Oh, how I remember her shaking her finger at me when I entered my teens. The birth-control pill was making a debut and all hell was breaking loose with morals. Or were they?
I did a little research and found that morals were different in this way – no one admitted to having sex, especially the women! Women were the moral compass of the ages. We held innocence in our … hands? Yes, metaphorically speaking. Were men always immoral?
I remember being a child and leaving my house early in the morning, hooking up with friends, running the streets and coming home for meals or when the street-lamp came on.
According to my grandparents, they did chores in the morning, played with their siblings, did more chores, and never spoke to an adult unless spoken to. Were their childhoods better?
I can’t answer that. I can compare some things about those three generations – Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad, and mine.
There were wars to be fought during each generation. Each one had atrocities. WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam.
There were things families did not talk about: abuses, beatings, rape, unwanted pregnancies. Lies were the truths of their day as they are now – in politics, religion, history, science, etc.
Schools haven’t changed much. Elementary schools still teach a fraction of the truth in most subjects. We still teach our children that the Native Americans loved the white man and then became heathens who must be destroyed, and the white man almost succeeded. There is no mention of Tesla. Math is still annoyingly difficult.
Let’s look at morals again. Girls still had premarital sex and got pregnant which led to a shot-gun marriage and later, a divorce. Some girls were shipped off and their babies were given up for adoption. Some never were adopted.
There was a raucous nightlife filled with Flappers, Machine Guns, Bank robberies, Alcohol, and drugs, just to name a few rather questionable aspects of my grandparent’s generation.
My parents? Well, there was still premarital sex and the marrying off of those daughters. There were drinks and drugs, risqué nightlife, two-piece bathing suits, calf-high skirt and dress hems, young men drafted to war, and on and on.
Our fathers were having affairs and sometimes our moms and dads partied together with the neighbors at something they called “key-parties” or “swinging”. Hell, we didn’t know, we were happy to be ignored.
My childhood? No one bothered to find out where we went so long as our valium taking and day-drinking mothers were not burdened and our skirt-chasing fathers didn’t concern themselves with.
Yep, my childhood was wonderful! Then we began to grow up and while our parents were getting high, playing drinking games and having sex with the neighbors, we were getting high, drinking Boones Farm and Mad Dog 20/20, and having sex with our boyfriend.
If we got pregnant, we didn’t get married – we had abortions. (Yes, women had abortions in my Grandparent’s day and our Parent’s day, but few survived to tell).
Yes, my generation of boys were drafted. But for the first time, we protested and moved across our northern border to keep from dying in a "military action".
Back to those Elementary School days – does anyone my age remember "drop and cover"? Yep. The bomb. The threat was real. What wasn’t real was the expectation that dropping and covering would save our lives. The radio-active crap that would kill us quickly from the skies, ended up being put into our drinking-water so we would die a slower death.
What about today? Our kids and grandkids drink and have sex, but they can buy protection themselves or we will buy it for them. That IS different. Better?
Our kids and grandkids know how to cook up their own drugs and marijuana is stronger (thank god it stinks, so they don’t smoke as much).
Are there threats to their lives? Well, yes there are. Russia, disease, pollution, anarchy, phobias, gun violence in our streets and in our homes, children being sold for sex, men who buy them (my generation).
Schools are not prepared to teach to their generation and teachers cannot control their students (parents can’t either), our climate is changing at a very fast rate and I am now thinking our grandchildren and their children have no future. (There is my Grandmother’s voice again)
Could it be that we judge the world from our childhood age of cognizance forward, without being able to look at the past before us? It seems that way.
Yes, the world is difficult and scary today. It was also scary for our Grandparents, then our parents, then us and I suspect our children are now approaching an age where life in the future looks bleak. (Could they be headed for an automated brain, and will that make things better?)
I have a sixteen-year-old granddaughter. I wonder how she sees the world today and what she worries about for the future.
Let’s all hope that each generation can navigate their own realities and troubles and create a better world much the way these generations before them did (subjective). So long as mankind is in the mix, it could go either way.