As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat. Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint, and there were no padded crib protectors to keep us from sticking our heads through the slats. We could sleep on our backs, our sides, or our stomachs. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps of wood and old wheels or roller skates and then rode 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 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. No cell phones. No pagers. Unthinkable! We played dodgeball and sometimes the ball would really hurt. We got cut and broke bones and chipped teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents?
We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it. And sometimes make up and become best friends. We ate cupcakes, bread and butter,and drank sugar soda but we were never overweight.........
We were always outside playing. We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. Horrors! We shared one grape soda with four friends, from one bottle and no one died from this, ever.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X Boxes, video games at all, 699 channels on cable, video tape and DVD movies, surround sound, personal cellular phones, Personal Computers, internet chat rooms...........
We had real live friends. We went outside and found them. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rung the bell or just walked in and talked to them. Imagine such a thing. Without asking a parent! By ourselves! Out there in the cold cruel world! Without a guardian. How did we do it?
We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever. Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.....
Some students weren't as smart as others so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade.....Horrors! Tests were not adjusted for any reason. Bad behavior at home, at school, or in public was rewarded with corporal punishment, such as a smack or a paddling. We walked to school or at the very least to the bus stop without our parents taking us because it rained or snowed. We had people who didn't like us because of our religion, color, ethnic origin, where we lived, who we hung out with, and so forth. We survived. Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected. No one to hide behind. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law, imagine that!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem-solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years has been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. God, Family, and friends were the most important things in our lives.
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