I used to get all kinds of effluence in my inbox, mostly from people forwarding things to me that they could have debunked with a 5-second visit to Snopes.com, or telling me that Microsoft would pay 20¢ to some cancer fund for each forward (they won’t.) In the course of telling people that these kinds of viral messages were essentially destructive time-wasters, the deluge has dwindled to a trickle.
But every now and then I get something that I like, and which I feel is worth sharing. This is one of them.
I had to do some massive re-formatting of the text, removing countless exclamation points!!!! fixing grammar and punctuaton, and making it look less like some clickbait thing from BuzzFeed, but when you get down to the core ideas, they resonate with me. Without further ado (I’ve added some notes):
To those of us born 1925 – 1979, and to all the kids who survived the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s:
First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes. 1
Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.
As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.
Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank kool-aid made with real white sugar. And we weren’t overweight. Why? Because we were always outside playing. 2
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day, and we were okay.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have play stations, Nintendos and Xboxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no internet and no chat rooms. We had friends and we went outside and found them!
☛ We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents. 3
We played outside, in parks and on the streets, alone, and nobody accused our parents of neglect. 4
We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.
We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given B-B guns for our 10th birthdays, 22 rifles for our 12th, rode horses, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
Little league had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that.
Signs like this were not needed.
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law.
When we got bad grades, we were punished – not the teacher.
These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever.
The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
If you are one of those born between 1925-1970, congratulations!
Naturally, these are not absolutes, but rather thoughts about how our society has changed. Sadly, despite all the amazing advances, not always for the better.
The Old Wolf has spoken.
1) Yes, this and some of the other things mentioned above did cause accidents, health issues, and injuries. They still do. But strip away the lawyers and the nanny state, and most people would still survive.
2) There were some overweight kids. But they were the exception, rather than an ever-growing statistic.
3) This is my favorite one. I execrate the litigious nature of today’s society.
4) They even have a term for this nowadays: free-range parenting. This is abomination. Back then, it was just the way life was.