The picture above was normal for my childhood. We rode in the back of pickups without a care in the world. Even when inside a vehicle seatbelts were optional and that is if they weren’t stuffed down to an unreachable spot in the crease. Becoming a parent you look back on things like this and find yourself in a conundrum of sorts. Most of us will admit we had a great childhood. Most of us will continue on and say this generation needs to learn responsibility and be tough like us. If only they grew up when we did, they would understand what they lack and how much more we did.
Agree with me so far? Then I turn my thoughts to what exactly could or should we be doing differently? Do we let them roam neighborhoods and wooded areas all day long without making contact, showing up when”the street lights come on”? Umm, don’t think so. Do we say forget the seatbelt today, lets just hope for the best? Do we drop them off at the mall, arcade, bowling alley with a quarter telling them to call when they want to come home? Age pending, probably not. We even had some of the craziest songs, prayers, and stories that as I revisit them would more than make me think, I probably should not share this with my kids.
Remember this one?:
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should DIE before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take
I prayed this a million times thinking nothing of it. Then when I started saying it with my kids at night I suddenly realized how morbid and strange it was. That might spur a few posts of its own so I will save other examples for later. Here are my questions for you. How do we solve the problem? How do we give them our childhood with all the great benefits of a less sheltered upbringing without giving into a very stupid idea that never should have been the case for us? How do we toughen up a generation that doesn’t have the hard knocks we did? Ultimately…where is the balance and is there even one to be obtained?
I leave you with this hesitantly because it convicts me as much as it does you. Can we really complain about the generation that WE are raising? If so, what would you or should you change?
That’s my two cents…keep the change.