Change is generally thought to be about more technology. I love modern stuff like cars, refrigeration, cell phones, air-conditioning, computers, T.V., and such. I recently read a series of books in which some scientific abnormality put an end to all electrical functions. It put a perspective on how well people handle change. In those books the youth had to handle change along with the adults and old folks. In that case, do you think the young people would talk about the “good old days?” Most of their stories would probably relate to technology. When someone like me talks about the “good ole days” we are referring to a time when families worked together, played together, ate together, sang together, rode together, prayed together and even slept together.
Let’s have a closer look at those activities.
Worked together. Each member may have been assigned a chore, but the chores were to achieve a common goal, and they were not so departmentalized. For instance, one person might be the bed maker, one the sweeper, one the dish washer – all for one and one for all. See how that is different than each child being told to clean his own room. He gets a feeling of ownership of the room, so why should mom care if he doesn’t.
Played together. Example: There was a game called Two Deep. Circle up in pairs. The tag pair steps in front of a “two deep” couple. The back couple have to run to safety in front of another pair. When an adult was paired with a child, it was quite common for the adult to grab the child around the waist and carry him to safety. Great fun for adults and children. Recently, I was explaining “Leap frog” to my great grandchildren. Sounded like fun—my five-year-old said “Grandma, do you have that game at home?” Not many children see games as multi-generational AND free?
Ate together. Yes, no short orders in families fifty years ago. If we had chicken, each ate chicken; if we had macaroni, each had macaroni. Sammy and I were eating at Pinera Bread the other day, there was a teen eating a sandwich alone at a table next to us. Oh, but it turned out that he was not alone; by the time his sandwich was half eaten, mom and sister came in from a neighboring food establishments with their choices. So they did value being together somewhat. But they apparently could not agree on a choice of food.
Sang together. Oh, yes, here I go. I sat in a church again last Sunday and heard my generation blamed for my retro church music which no longer speaks to this generation. Enough already! It is not my choice of music that teens are not accepting – since they haven’t heard my choice in music. None. Quit blaming hymns and gospel music—that went out 35 years ago. It is the present music (or at least something less that 15 years old) that is not holding the teens – well, it holds them while it is the peer group thing to do. I ask you, How is it that most of my generation likes everything from Away in the Manger to Handel’s Messiah. We like hoe-down and hymns, anthems and orchestras, rounds and rap, operas and oprys, cantatas and concerts, Western, and Southern, blues and blue-grass, camp-meeting and contemporary, but get blamed for the music wars. Well, my little ones still love a quick jump into a song like: “I’ll Fly Away!”
Rode together. Sure enough we went to town together in one car! Made a trip from Colorado to Mississippi with eight people in an un-airconditioned car. I certainly appreciate the modern tech which gave us air-conditioning. And eight was a bit much. But it does show that we had a common goal, and we could stand each others company long enough to reach that goal.
Prayed together. My grandparents had a long table with bench seats. We knelt and prayed together after breakfast. Children went to church with adults; we all knelt and prayed together. I’ll always remember Aunt Molly. She was a woman who knew how to pray. I’m glad I knew her. I’m glad I heard more than one person pray at a time. I learned that God’s not limited in his ability to take all our prayers into his giant computer system, or whatever system he uses.
Slept together. Did you ever sleep five in a bed – three at the top and two at the bottom? Don’t want to do that again. But we knew that beds were for sleeping! Sleeping together then did not mean what it means now! I think that is not a bad mind set. My other sleeping together experience was the memorable times when my mom and dad would pull the mattress outside and we would sleep under the stars in a county that was so dry we hardly knew what a mosquito was!
So I admit it, I think some of the modern changes are great but I do remember some good old days when families liked each other! I appreciate the modern mechanical things, but I don’t like to read white on black, I don’t like churches supplying earplugs because they know the music is too loud, I don’t like my sixteen year old revving out the driveway, I don’t like the rising suicide rate for young people. And I leave you with this question. If things are so much better in this day of conveniences, why has suicide rates for below 25 year-olds risen from 13.6 to 29.7 per 100,000?