Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Good Old Days

"The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for
authority, they show disrespect to their elders....They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their
legs, and are tyrants over their teachers."--Socretes (469 BC - 399 BC)
Some things never change-the Earth revolves around the Sun, brownies are delicious and fattening, and the elders of the community will shake their heads and lament "kids these days". Even I-who some people consider still "kid aged"-have balked at what appears to be a 5 year old behind the wheel of a car and started a sentence with "when I was your age...." Perhaps it has something to do with brain chemistry and aging. And yet, every once in a while, a generation comes along that feels a particular kinship to an older generation--I think that time has come around again.

I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that I feel a very special bond with my Depression-era grandparents (though they are long passed away). With the economy being what it is, and Hubby and I being pretty much on the bottom of the economic pyramid, I have pulled a lot of 'tricks of the trade' from their generation to help us get by. I find myself keeping coin jars (something my Baby Boomer parents never did), making "remade" dinners (meals that use portions/ingredients/leftovers of other meals), and growing/making whatever I can with my own two hands. I can recognize the wisdom, love, and fear in my Nana's cavernous basement of canned fruits and vegetables and my grandpa's 40 year old (non-running) lawnmower that he never did part with...because Hubby and I feel that same apprehension about the future, and the same need to protect our children from true poverty.

Apparently it's not just me-many people in my generation seem to be reaching back into the past for help and guidance during hard times. We have decided-according to our increased participation-that sewing and canning are ever-more desirable skills. Saving is also becoming more and more important to us-according to Google there was a 150% rise in searches for home safes, and NPR reports that home safe sales rose up to 70% in 2008, reflecting a (warranted) lack of trust for banks in general. Generationally speaking, we're even giving our babies more traditional names (I know that's certainly true with Hubby and I!) naming them after and in honor of our grandparents (or great grandparents for some) who survived similar economic times.

The struggle for young parents to raise happy and healthy children in times of uncertainty and economic failure is bridging the generation gap between us-and while it is certainly a struggle that no one can really "enjoy" I hope that my generation will benefit from the values of our grandparents and great grandparents; that we are able to learn needed skills and enjoy those things that are more valuable than money...because, perhaps, if we build those skills and learn the meaning of true value someday, despite the hardships, we will be able to look back on these times as "the good old days".


L Harris said...

Great post and I have to agree with you. We've done the same - learning skills of "old", naming our children with old family names, etc.

Mrs. M said...

Thank you. I think it's only going to become more common.

SkylarKD said...

I keep feeling the need to learn more skills - to make things with my hands, and have something to show for my work. It probably stems from doing most of my non-Mommy work on a computer! I've recently learned to sew, and keep trying to teach myself new crafty skills. Some go well, some not-so-well, but I'm trying! :)