Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Then and Now

I was born in 1951, a time when childhood and parenting were a lot different from what they are today. My parents spanked us reguarly when they felt we needed it. I went to a parochial grade school where the nuns regularly administered corporal punishment (I still remember old Sister Angelica storming down the aisle between the desks toward a misbehaving fellow in the back, shouting "I'm going to hit you with my fist!!" ... and doing it), rode my bike without a helmet, drank from the water hose, and walked significant distances after dark to and from my friends' homes. Somehow, I survived. So did most others of my generation.

I've seen a number of variations on this "then and now" summary, but this one is pretty comprehensive. It lacks nuance, but is nevertheless useful as a guide to how things have changed over the years. If you are the parent of grade-school or high-school age children today, you may well be shocked and amazed that your parents lived long enough to have you ...

1957 vs. 2014

Scenario 1 (Grade School): Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1957: Johnny quickly feels better and goes on playing.

2014: Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in state prison. Johnny undergoes five years of therapy.

Scenario 2 (High School): Jack goes duck hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck's gun rack.

1957: Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.

2014: School goes into lockdown, SWAT team deployed, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his
truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 3 (High School): Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1957: Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.

2014: Police called; SWAT team arrives and arrests both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario 4 (High School): Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students.

1957: Jeffrey sent to the Principal's office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2014: Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The family gets extra money (SSI) from the government because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 5 (High School): Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1957: Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.

2014: Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse and Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. Billy's sister tells the state psychologist that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario 6 (High School): Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1957: Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.

2014: The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario 7 (High School): Pedro fails high school English.

1957: Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.

2014: Pedro's cause is taken up by numerous civil rights groups. National newspapers editorialize that making English proficiency a requirement for graduation is racist. The ACLU files a class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English is banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario 8 (High School): Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up an ant hill.

1957: Ants die.

2014: Local SWAT teams, the ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents and all children are removed from their home. All the family’s computers are confiscated. Johnny's dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

It's a different world out there, isn't it?

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I so understand this! :-)

Mike said...

My mother went to a Catholic school where the nuns hit her with rulers. That's why I didn't grow up Catholic and why she never went to church.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

There was a simpler, more logical time once.