Several thoughts colliding in my mind made me think of what I'm posting today. The first thought is of all the news of toy recalls because of the dangers they pose to children. The second thought is an amusing/disturbing event this week. I'll try to relate this as concisely as possible. A colleague stopped me in the hall to ask my age, to which I replied, "I'm 56." She said that that's what she thought, since she thought we were about the same age. She went on to explain that one of my students used me as an example in a project on Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development for her class. My student said that I was an example of someone in the "Integrity vs. Despair" stage of life - the eighth and final stage of life! She said that I was a grandfather in his mid-sixties. Yikes! I must look really old! Maybe I need a make-over....
Well, anyway, thinking about safety concerns for those in Erikson's stage 1 - a stage I went through WAY back in the last millennium - and about the fact that as doddering as I am, I've somehow still survived reminded me of something I've received about other survivors like me.
Can You Believe We Survived!?
According to today's over-zealous regulators, those of us who were kids in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and maybe even early 70s, probably shouldn't have survived.
First, we survived being born to mothers who took aspirin, ate bleu cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint. We slept on our backs or our stomachs, whichever way was more comfortable. And we slept in back rooms or upstairs with the doors closed so no one would wake up.
We had no childproof lids or locks on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets.
As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts, or air bags. It was a sad rite of passage, when as a child, you were too tall to stand up in the back seat and look out!
Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat, and the more the merrier!
We drank water from the tap and even the garden hose and not from a bottle.
We ate cupcakes, white bread, and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because, WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one got sick or died from this.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we had forgotten the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We would also build our own skateboards from a board and an old pair of skates. We rode our homemade skateboards and our bicycles, and we skated - with no knee pads, no elbow pads, and no helmets. We learned that falling hurt, and we learned to avoid falls.
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, and often well into the evening after supper. No one was able to reach us during any of this time. No cell phones or pagers, just Mom yelling out the front door or calling our friend's house in an emergency. And we were OK.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no 256 channels on cable, DVD movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, Internet, or chat rooms.
WE HAD FRIENDS! We went outside and found them!
We played dodge ball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt. We fell out of trees, got cut, some even broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents? They were what we called things that happened usually because of our own carelessness.
We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks, stones, string, and cans, 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 home 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 the disappointment, to get better at the game, or do something else.
Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade.
Tests were not adjusted for any reason. Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.
The idea of parents bailing us out if we got in trouble in school or broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the school or the law!
Those generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors, ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success, and responsibility - and we learned how to deal with it!
If you're one of the kids described above and survived to read about it, CONGRATULATIONS!
Now I will say that we have learned somethings through the years, and my generation probably took some unnecessary risks because we just didn't know better. But it is interesting to consider how out-of-proportion some of aspects of life have become. I guess it's job security for those who know better than we do what's best for us....
"Our fears always pale when compared to the power of an omnipotent God." - Jon Daulton
If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?