I realize that we live in a different time than we did when I was growing up, but it is sometimes hard to make sense of what we value, in living our lives, and what things we feel are important.  Maybe it is more of a generational thing and I am just stuck back in the mindset of my generation.  With the advent of social media, everything is at your fingertips and the world, and it’s news, is so readily available.  The following is some obvious differences in social thinking and norms back then and now.

The evening news on TV was your main source of, up to the minute, news; otherwise you might hear news updates on radio or in the newspaper the next day.  The assassination of JFK was first hear by me almost an hour after it had occurred.  Now, news is on the internet or 24 hour news programs with in minutes of it happening.  We have all seen images of news events that were being shown on TV, while they actually occurred.  Most TV stations, in my time, broadcast a half hour of national news at 5:30 PM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday. now, you have numerous 24 hour “news” stations.  The glaring difference was, back then, they reported the news and then went on to the next story.  Now, we hear the same snippet of news being repeatedly re-hashed over and over again.  This is intertwined with, so-called, news about the same small group of celebrities and reality “stars” that you use to only heard about in trashy newspapers, at the check-out, at the grocery store.

We had hard-wired telephones or commonly referred to as “land-lines.”  We only used them to call others, when we had something important to say or they needed to call us.  Now, I will admit that I have a cell-phone, but it is usually turned off, unless I go somewhere and feel that I need to take it with me.  I also have a mobile phone in my vehicle, through the use of “On-Star.”  I will be the first to admit that it comes in very handy for getting a hold of the wife, if I have a question about the grocery list or if I need to contact her while out hunting.  But, it is not so important in my life that I can’t live without it and or that it consumes every minute that I am awake.  The teenagers of today, can not even turn off their cellphones long enough to do their homework, without interruption.  Also, texting is so pervasive that many will text, almost constantly, even while driving.  We have all seen the teen with 4 or 5 hundred texts in a day, and it is not just the young people.  When I use to still go to work, before I retired, the same neighborhood lady would pull out of her garage, every morning, with her cell-phone stuck up to her ear.  Just who do you need to call, everyday, at 7:00 AM and what about the dumbass, who needs to text while in the movie theaters?  They even display a warning, prior to the start of the movie.

In my era, “social networking” was not even part of our vocabulary, but, if I had to define it back then, it involved your immediate family, your relatives, and your friends.  You participated in “family” activities and went on “family” vacations.  You all sat down together, at mealtime, and shared the events of the day.  That is how families stayed connected.  What happened or occurred in the family unit, stayed in the family unit and was never discussed with anyone outside of your family.  Parents decided what was acceptable and what was not.  They controlled and enforced what occurred in daily life, and you were held responsible for any errors in judgment and would face the ultimate consequence.  Today, people have hundreds of “friends” on “Facebook” or “Twitter” but, many children, today, would not have any idea what a “family unit” was.  Maybe it is due to family members being more active and involved in more things, or just maybe, it’s a breakdown of what was once important in our lives, and that was the family unit.  Many parents feel that “family ” meal times are not that important.  If so then, when do you discuss with your kids, what is occurring, in their lives, on a daily basis?  Also, little discipline and consequences, are ever-present into today’s family structure.

In parting, I have just one thought for you to ponder.  How “connected” are you to your sons and/or daughters, and they ,in turn, to you…when you are in the same house, but you need to text them on your cell-phone, that supper is ready?

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