The More Things Change..........

  1. .......the more I wish some things would've stayed the same.

    Now I know I'm getting along in years......At 45, I'm already old enough to remember a time when religion and politics were NOT discussed in polite company, and the way these topics are used today---mainly as weapons to be used against people who don't believe the same things we do---is deplorable. All one has to do is read the newspaper, watch TV, or even check out some of the political threads on this BB to know that these subjects, which were once taboo, ought to be put back in the closet for the sake of civility. But it won't happen.....you can't unring the bell, or force people to shut up and try to get along.

    I remember a time when sexuality was one's own business. I don't even want to know what other married couples do in the privacy of their own bedrooms, let alone what Adam and Steve are up to. I also do not want to know what's happening in the sex lives of Hollywood stars, athletes, Presidents, or my grown children.

    I remember a time when we did NOT wear pajamas out in public. As 'earthy' as I am, I'm also enough of a lady that I don't want anyone not related to me to see me in my nightclothes; yet my kids---and even my 20-something co-workers---have told me I'm too uptight. In fact, my kids seem to get a kick out of my discomfiture when they bring their friends into the house, without notice, while I'm sitting at the computer in my PJs on a Saturday morning. Indeed, they see nothing wrong with wearing their own jammies all day when entertaining company while I, at least, want to have a bra on when I meet someone for the first time.....or the twentieth.

    I remember a time when kids could play, climb trees, ride their bikes with the wind in their hair, and just be kids without being so 'safe' that fun is no longer, well.......fun. When I was growing up, you played on the monkey bars, and when you fell off and broke your arm, you got a cast and all your classmates signed it. Today, it's grounds for a lawsuit, and now they've put all these wood chips under the playground equipment that give you splinters and get into everything you own, including your clothes, your hair, even your underwear. Of course, kids hardly even venture outside anymore, not only because there are so many indoor activities (cable TV, computer games, videos etc.) but because just about everything my generation used to call 'play' is over-regulated to the point where it's no longer enjoyable. And I think childhood has lost something very valuable, along with the old rickety swing sets and the merry-go-rounds that used to go so fast that you were apt to fly off and plow up a couple of acres with your nose if you lost your grip.

    And I remember a time when adults ruled, when whatever Mom or Dad said was law, and God help you if you strayed too far beyond your proper station in the household pecking order. It's not that I think kids should be 'seen and not heard', but damn it, I had to EARN the right to eat junk food whenever I felt like it, see R-rated movies, make decisions about the way I looked and wore my clothes, even cuss.......and I earned it by living long enough. Today's generation seems to think these privileges are theirs by birthright, and having to parent against the social grain---to deny one's own kids these "rights" while the vast majority of their age-mates enjoy them without limits---makes a tough job far tougher than it has to be. And even though I've largely succeeded in raising four pretty decent human beings, I'm not happy about having had to do it in a culture which devalues respect for adults and other authority figures under the misguided concept that adults and kids should be equals. I'm sorry, but kids already HAVE buddies; they need us to be parents.

    End of rant. Thanks for reading!
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   warrior woman
    Jesus Marla, you must have been reading my mind!! Thank you Thank you Thank you for touching on some of the very same things I feel so deeply about. Problem is these days, we don't ALLOW kids to be kids. We want them to be a mirror image of us;little adults,and that can be a pretty distorted view to begin with.We baby our kids too much and inadvertantly give them a sense of entitlement when they're toddlers by doing so. We have also given up the on the concept of personal responsibility. It seems if we screw up, there is always some place to blame other than ourselves even when we're dead wrong. Making mistakes is part of life. blaming the world for them is wrong. End of speech!! LOL!
  4. by   leslie :-D
    wow marla, a most thought-provoking thread. and i agree with you in every nostalgic and wistful observation stated.

    "we've come a long way baby" ( ) should be replaced with "we've come the wrong way, baby".

    years ago, in a much less technological era, we were forced to use our minds more, be more resourceful and make do with what we had. we were innovative, creative and much more grateful. life was much less complicated.

    as we've become more saavy and sophisticated, along came more gadgets and more shortcuts, acknowledging that there were more expectations of us with less time. stressors increased. perspectives and priorities modified. less feeling and thinking, more coming and going.

    along the way, we've lost simple courteousy with everything being oriented to 'self'. with this societal selfishness, an abrasive insensitive personna surfaced out of want for more and willing to settle for less.

    religion/politics- there is little decorum in debating as it is more emotional than objective. opinions are quickly posted rather than deliberating on what points one wants to get across. little or no self-control and too much disrespect.

    sexuality- again, a pervasive attitude of disregarding what was once sacred and private.

    pj's in public- wear bras, make sure you're covered and this has to do with gen'l qd wear, not ltd. to pajamas. it's a disgrace that girls feel this need to exploit themselves. self esteem should not come from external sources.

    which leads me to when we were kids; innocence has been virtually lost in immeasurable ways. i'm not even sure if there's any such thing as playing anymore as children's schedules are filled with too many to-do lists.

    and as for parental authority or a broken arm in the playground; both instances demonstrate the mass threats of potential lawsuits for child abuse and negligence respectively. a total abuse of our system.

    in summary, we have been graced with living in a country that has permitted us to literally live in the land of the free.... but sadly it is a privilege that has not been properly used, but massively abused. we've crossed the line in too many ways.

    great post marla.

    leslie
  5. by   warrior woman
    Oh God! I almost forgot PLAY DATES!!!! The very term pisses me off. When I was a kid, it was just PLAY on the PLAYGROUND with other kids and your friends,not some scheduled,organized,prearranged time set by the parents for their convienience. Play was our outlet for our worries,aggressions,ect. If we had a beef with another kid, usually by the time the recess bell rang for us to go back to class the crisis usually had blown over. Now a lot of schools have done away with recess in order to focus more on PROFICIENCY TESTS of all things. We now have a generation of kids who are understimulated, overmedicated, and JUST PLAIN MISERABLE because we in our infinite wisdom have gradually taken something as precious and important as childhood play and have chipped away and whittled it down to PLAY DATES. The fact that there are 8 year olds on ulcer medication, because they are torn up with worry over something as IMHO meaningless and capricious as proficiency tests is a damn disgrace, and a crying shame. Let me tell you something, One test does not a smart/dumb person make. Some kids just can't take standardized tests well. I couldn't in either high school or college,and I finished 4th in my LPN class. Sorry I'm so emotional about this, but this has been a sore spot with me for awhile. Thanks for listening to a crotchety old fart!! LOL!
  6. by   NewEastCoastRN
    I am only 23, but I totally agree. I feel like even when I was growing up things were a lot different. Good post, very well thought-out.
  7. by   Tweety
    Marla, I'm 45 too and I'm wondering what planet you grew up on.

    When I grew up politics were most definately discussed as students were burning draft cards, moving to Canada, and protesting the Vietnam War.
    Then there was the thing with Watergate.

    People were getting thrown out of school for having long hair, wearing hot pants, t-shirts with Boonesfarm wine on them.

    Now as kids we could run around the neighborhood free to be, except we had to watch out for the older kids smoking pot in the woods and taking LSD.

    Mom and dad didn't rule, they lost control sometime during the "youth revolution" or "youth rebellion" or whatever you called it.


    But please sweetness leave on those rose-colored glasses when you look backwards. I like your world so much better.
  8. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from 3rdShiftGuy
    Marla, I'm 45 too and I'm wondering what planet you grew up on.

    When I grew up politics were most definately discussed as students were burning draft cards, moving to Canada, and protesting the Vietnam War.
    Then there was the thing with Watergate.

    People were getting thrown out of school for having long hair, wearing hot pants, t-shirts with Boonesfarm wine on them.

    Now as kids we could run around the neighborhood free to be, except we had to watch out for the older kids smoking pot in the woods and taking LSD.

    Mom and dad didn't rule, they lost control sometime during the "youth revolution" or "youth rebellion" or whatever you called it.


    But please sweetness leave on those rose-colored glasses when you look backwards. I like your world so much better.
    so you don't see any reality in what marla states? i too am 45 and our childhood WAS alot different. today students are getting thrown out of school for possessing weapons and drugs and not for having long hair.

    today, mom and dad can't rule effectively w/o the threat of your kid threatening you to call police for child abuse.

    and yes, it was much safer as kids when we were kids than it is today. there wasn't the number of latch-key kids back then....many children today are left unsupervised, living in a single parent home and mom or dad is out working...sexual molestation has run rampant today.

    and as for the politics, there seemed to be more focus on the cause with much more focus, rather than the sardonic and personal attacks obscured by one's emotions.

    no tweety, those aren't rose colored glasses. that was the reality of then and the reality of now. in too many ways it has been a downward spiral.
  9. by   Katnip
    I've got to agree with Tweety on most of it.

    I remember heated political debates, war protests, bombs in colleges, marches that turned violent, drugs including heroin and LSD in high school, hip huggers that made everyone's butt cracks available for all to see, ditto miniskirts displaying crotches, sassing the older generations, the 8-year-old girl down the street who went missing and was never found, the rapes on the local campuses.

    I also remember catching fireflies at night with the neighborhood kids, keeping doors unlocked, at least for a few years, neighbors helping each other out without question.

    Funny thing, I ask my kids now about their childhood. We were very fortunuate to grow up in a neighborhood that was mixed racially so my kids learned that *folks is just folks*, and we all had the *it takes a village* mentality. My kids remember 4th of July block parties, spontaneous neighborhood gatherings that always managed to turn into a celebration of one kind of another...every weekend; they remember getting disciplined for a transgression from someone who wasn't their parent. They also remember knowing there wasn't a house on the block they couldn't turn to for help, whether it was getting a bike tire fixed or shelter from that stranger in the car.

    Yes, there was crime and tragedy in their lives; the 10 year old neighbor who hanged himself on Thanksgiving day, a 5 year old girl who was kidnapped and murdered in the next town, a war in the Persian Gulf. But they, too survived.

    They dress strangely, and yes, I see a bit more disrespect at times. But not always. I was on a crowded bus one day and a kid about 15-16 stood up and gave me his seat. Yep, there's hope.

    You are right. The more things change, the more they DO stay the same.

    Remember, Plato wrote an entire treatise on how the whole world was falling apart because of disrespectful teens and the strange way they wore their clothes.

    We dressed oddly for our times. We did things that pushed the envelope, and our parents and grandparents feared for the future because of us. But we turned out ok. I think this generation will, too once they grow up like we did.
  10. by   LouisianaNurse2006
    I think,
    Parents don't say "NO" enough anymore.
    The media has de-sensitized adults and children to violence, sex, and crime.
    I like sex just as much as the next person, but I am sick and tired of seeing it ALL OVER the damn TV! I can't even watch regular TV with my 7 yr old in the room anymore. Enough is enough.
    Yes, I do believe in free speech, but if the adult perverts of entertainment can't regulate themselves, then WHEN will it end?
    I truly believe that if the ones that can regulate what society is being "fed" day in and day out don't wake up and see what is happening, it will not be long before cartoon characters are screwing while our children sit and laugh eating their cereal in the mornings! (well, maybe that's a little overboard, but you get the picture).
    All of you guys are RIGHT ON! Thanks for letting me vent.
    God help us all,
    Penny
  11. by   Altra
    Quote from warrior woman
    Oh God! I almost forgot PLAY DATES!!!! The very term pisses me off. When I was a kid, it was just PLAY on the PLAYGROUND with other kids and your friends,not some scheduled,organized,prearranged time set by the parents for their convienience. Play was our outlet for our worries,aggressions,ect. If we had a beef with another kid, usually by the time the recess bell rang for us to go back to class the crisis usually had blown over. Now a lot of schools have done away with recess in order to focus more on PROFICIENCY TESTS of all things. We now have a generation of kids who are understimulated, overmedicated, and JUST PLAIN MISERABLE because we in our infinite wisdom have gradually taken something as precious and important as childhood play and have chipped away and whittled it down to PLAY DATES. The fact that there are 8 year olds on ulcer medication, because they are torn up with worry over something as IMHO meaningless and capricious as proficiency tests is a damn disgrace, and a crying shame. Let me tell you something, One test does not a smart/dumb person make. Some kids just can't take standardized tests well. I couldn't in either high school or college,and I finished 4th in my LPN class. Sorry I'm so emotional about this, but this has been a sore spot with me for awhile. Thanks for listening to a crotchety old fart!! LOL!
    Warrior Woman, I'm 3 years older & crotchetier than you, :chuckle and this is a MAJOR issue with me. As the parent of a 10-year old, I want to monitor my dd's "social life", but I DO NOT want to run it. Play dates??? I cringe when I hear the term. Fortunately we live in a neighborhood crawling with kids so generally my daughter arranges her own play (after her household responsibilities) by simply walking outside and/or calling her friend who lives 4 houses away. This is as it should be. I will, on occasion, drive her to see friends from school who live further away, or have her invite them to our house, but how they choose to spend their time is largely up to them (within DA RULES). They do not need me to amuse them. Unfortunately some of my contemporaries who are still playing the "competitive motherhood" game feel the need to arrange play dates, complete with elaborately scheduled activities with considerable parental involvement, and then wonder why their kids are unable to amuse themselves for more than 5 minutes at a time. Go figure.
    Last edit by Altra on Jul 6, '04 : Reason: continued ranting .... :)
  12. by   fergus51
    I'm younger, but I tend to go with Tweety on this one. I have a teenage brother (just turned 13) and his childhood is like mine. He doesn't have playdates, he goes outside with his friends, they are not worried about lawsuits and kids at his school aren't brining in weapons. He is told no when need be and he's a very respectful young man. I've even joked that he is far too well behaved to really be related to me I think the difference with the problems today as opposed to years ago is that today we know about them. Girls who get pregnant today aren't simply visiting a sick aunt anymore. They are pregnant. I think there are a lot of bad kids and parents out there, but I really don't think they are the majority by any means. They just get more coverage.

    I do think there is more overt sexuality and my brother's music stinks, but that's been the trend for every generation. Remember when married couples had to have twin beds on tv? My grandparents thought it was scandalous the first time they showed a couple in the same bed Now I hear my parents talking about how scandalous "Will and Grace" is at times.
  13. by   MrsWampthang
    I lived in a small town and was pretty much untouched by the protests, and hippy love-ins. Where I grew up, we would spend summer days at the pool (we rode our bikes clear across town to get there! GASP!); cartoons were only on for an hour about three times a day and then Saturday mornings; at night we would play Mr. Ghostie (nighttime hide and go seek), and cath fireflys. I never owned a bike helment and rode in bike-a-thons, and rode my tenspeed bike on the highway way out to my best friends house (no way I could do that now, I'd die of a heart attack! :chuckle ) I guess I grew up sheltered or with rose colored glasses, or somewhere over the rainbow; I just don't remember that much contraversy and discord from that time. I do remember bellbottom pants, miniskirts, hot pants, and hiphuggers. Long shaggy hair, make love not war, and the Vietnam War. Somehow though, the thing I remember most about my childhood is the fun I had. We could entertain ourselves all day just riding bikes around the block umpteen time, computers, video games and gameboys were not even a twinkle in their inventors eye. I guess like I said, I grew up somewhere over the rainbow wearing rose-colored glasses, but oh it felt so nice!

    Pam
  14. by   Katnip
    I think it's human nature to look back on the past with nostalgia. Every generation does it. My kids are already doing it. Heck, I had a pretty miserable childhood, very abusive, but I still have some fond memories of being a kid.

    It's just our way.

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