Isn’t it remarkable how we reflect upon the old days like they were better than the here and now? Do you remember growing up in the mid-20th Century?
I do… I think most of us do.
It wasn’t always that great.
We romantically look back to a simpler time when life was less complicated. However, we forget we were kids and our parents had to shoulder the worries and complexities of the times — paying bills, housekeeping; making sure we were bathed, clothed, and fed; and then going off to work each day.
Our mothers never got enough credit for the time and energy that went into housekeeping, doing the laundry, planning meals, picking us up from school, and making sure the ol’ man got enough attention.
You could tell when the ol’ man wasn’t getting enough attention.
What is it about the past that it looks so good to us today? Because we tend to forget what made the past difficult and challenging at the time. When we were very young, the times weren’t the good old days then. We wanted to be grown and couldn’t wait to get there. We couldn’t wait to get out from under the parents, school, and those miserable schoolyard bullies.
What made the 1960s the “good old days” was how most people chose to treat one another. Common decency was more the norm—holding the door for the person behind you, rendering a “thank you” when something nice was done for you, limited foul language, not exposing children to elements they should never see, using a fork instead of your fingers, dressing up to travel by air or rail, being considerate of your neighbor, block parties, spending the holidays with family, and holding one’s tongue in the heat of anger just to name a few.
Grace has become a lost art.
Karl Lensler Photo
When I consider what we didn’t have 50-60 years ago, it is remarkable. Today, you can deposit a check without going to the bank. You can get just about anything imaginable overnight. Cars and trucks have electronic engine control and long maintenance intervals. Turn the key or push a button and you’re on your way. What would we do without cells phones, personal computers and television? We’d be bored out of our minds or be forced to actually read a book. We’d have to sit around a campfire and chat instead of texting.
You can jet off to just about anywhere in the world today including Australia and New Zealand, South America, Asia—and be there nonstop in hours instead of days. You can make a long-distance call to nearly anywhere with telephone service and speak with someone 12,000 miles away. Keep in mind what time it might be there when you call. No use upsetting someone down under, “Mate! It’s 3 a.m…”
What we learn from this nostalgia mindset is the old days weren’t always all that great. We had our struggles just we have today. Some things were easy while others were hard – just like today. We have technology on our side today, which we did not have in the mid-20th century. At the time, we had a long way to go.
By contrast, we’ve lost the human touch that comes with technology. Social Media has become the birthplace of bad information and insulting comments because you don’t have to look at someone’s face. Common decency has been laid to rest and “mean” has become the norm. You see it everywhere.
I can come up with all kinds of reasons to practice kindness. However, society has to be a willing participant. Our country suffers from failed leadership – both sides of the aisle – that isn’t setting a proper example for common decency. If you as a public figure exhibit language that makes you sound like you just walked out of a pool hall, you shouldn’t be running the country. “Give ’em hell Harry…” has nothing on what we have representing us on Capitol Hill today – not to mention state capitals, local government, and Hollywood. We need to clean up our act as a generation and leave the good Earth better than we found it.
These are the good old days. We just won’t know that for decades.
Happy New Year, Everyone… May yours be blessed.