My kids and grandkids are visiting this week and it is beyond a kick. Bodies are coming and going. One car heads to the beach. Another to the gym. Someone is jogging and another is vegging. Laughter and an occasional outburst rings throughout the air. All perfectly normal.
As discussions go, I greet my daughter Megan at around 6:15 AM. It should be two freight trains going in opposite directions on the same track. Au contraire mes amis. Wife Kathy shakes her head at the depth we get into at this ungodly hour. Homelessness, crime, equity, and guns were the topic this AM.
Inevitably we go back to when I and they were young. This isn’t carping on new generations and bemoaning the good old days. It is trying to figure out what was wrong and right? What worked and what didn’t?
Where we were placed on the socioeconomic scale obviously shaped our lives. The financial equity gap was there but not to the degree it is today. For both me and my kids we were okay financially but there weren’t any mega mansions in our neighborhoods. Your peers were one or two up or down on the scale but not fifty to one. For myself you never thought about being a snob because you never felt you were that far out in front.
This played out in so many arenas. The local A and P supermarket or Bohacks were frequented by all. You had two or three choices of cereal producers not not twenty. You went to Jaffe’s department store to get new khakis for the school year and you had a choice of PF Flyers or Keds for sneakers. The station wagons were Fords or Chevys. So point one is that there were not a boatload of choices.
I asked my kids why they were so creative? We have a software developer, interior designer and artist at this point in their lives. It could have been years in Denver before cable TV. We had three channels and they came in poorly in the foothills. They wandered in the hills and built forts and ski jumps. They figured out how to entertain themselves. There was a lot of freedom of space and mind. They learned new colors and smells.
They were challenged and learned some degree of self confidence. We were aware parents but not helicopters. They got into trouble but had to figure it out on their own. They were punished and after WWIII in the back seat one day, they were let out of the car to walk the last quarter of a mile to home. We would be arrested today! There were curfews and groundings. They survived. Point two is roots and wings.
I cut lawns and had a paper route. Kathy babysat. When your piggy bank went empty you could not go the parental ATM. All my kids had jobs. Some of theirs do today. If you didn’t have the money you didn’t do it. Allowances were minimal and money management was introduced. I can just imagine asking my old man for $1000 to see Taylor Swift.
The perception of money is beyond critical. I would pay $50 for a new tennis racket. If you wanted to buy one for $100 you made up the difference. My kids shared an old Ford Bronco II that we as a group negotiated to buy. They paid for the gas and washed it. And most of their friends learned to drive a shift stick in that beauty. Point three is the value of money. Does it really grow on trees?
I could spend two or three blogs on our current media. This is not an old fuddy duddy but just a guy looking at things and saying “What have we wrought?”. Are we more creative or less? Is the access to so many things on line enlightening or overwhelming? We stream without any supervision. We don’t want our kids to miss out. So let me get this straight. Access to 100 channels, games that are mesmerizing, anonymous bullying, sexting, and constant contact night and day…..this is a good thing?
Do today’s kids have the ability to just grow up slowly and at their own pace? Does our overindulgence translate into the lack of desire for today’s generation to work no more than necessary? There are children everywhere that live at home with no visible means of support. Is this the new age or a recipe for disaster? This is not to be judgmental but to seriously figure out if we are on the wrong or right path?
As old farts we can’t dismiss this whole genre as vapid and dispassionate. Kath and I raised our kids to live their lives not ours. It was a difficult day when we said we would love to be part of your life but we don’t have to be. That is where we are today. It is their world to mold and take forward.
We had our chance and I have to be honest when I say I am not sure we always did the best of things. Sure there has been prosperity. We have made tremendous advancements in science. But there is a little thing called the deficit and if we abhor social media we were the ones that got it started, fed it and have reaped so many financial benefits. We looked the other way and even sucked down opioids. 450 million guns did not happen overnight.
Yes, we worked hard to provide. Yes, we hoped we did the right thing. In many ways we did. I have to ask myself if I and we were responsible citizens of our world, why do we have such daunting problems today? Homelessness, drugs, the national debt, education, immigration, gun violence are part of our persona as a country.
When I was young we had chance to shape policy and construct blueprints for our future. What mark would you give us? Hmmm. Interesting question.
Ted The Great
There are over 50 types of sneakers on the market today. That does not include variations of color and low tops, high tops etc.
The number of available apps in the Google Play Store was most recently placed at 2.67 million apps, after surpassing 1 million apps in July 2013.
Nearly a third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 — part of what is collectively known as Gen Z — live at home with their parents or other relatives, according to a new study, and they considered it a long-term housing solution.
The concert business grossed over $7 billion last year.
1990. $3.200 trillion
2000. $5.674 trillion
2010. $13.562 trillion
2020. $27.748 trillion
2023. $31.748 trillion