To the Editor:
For Baby Boomers, the 1960s were far from perfect, but it was the perfect time to be an adventurous kid. Family life in the 60s was linked to freedom, so parents were more trusting and permissive. Teens could hang loose, and there were few helicopter parents. We so often read about “kids today” and what they are missing. Let’s look at some facts:
• Average Life expectancy in 1950 was 66 vs 77 now (decreased 1.5 because of Covid). Why? Smoking was encouraged, no vaccines for polio, diphtheria, measles etc. Advances in health care such as treatment of heart disease and cancer as well as prenatal care. There were no seat belts and we lined our buildings with asbestos.
• Treatment of women and other minorities: Very few women had the opportunity to play sports in school. They could and were asked if they planned to have children on job interviews. There were very few female executives. Treatment of Blacks and other minorities is well documented such as sitting on the back of the bus and government sanctioned discrimination. If you were gay, you faced rampant homophobia and were banned from holding federal jobs.
• In the 60s the draft hung over every draft eligible male’s head with the possibility of serving in Viet Nam.
• There was no reliable form of contraception till the late 60’s
So, while there are similarities: (We sat under our desks to practice for nuclear war while children now practice for an active shooter) in many ways, children born today have many advantages and opportunities we did not enjoy, but is that a bad thing? When I hear how spoiled children are today, I think of my own children and grandchildren. What these people are saying is that their parents were better than parents of our generation and our children who are now parents, are doing a poor job. From my perspective I do not see it. I am very proud of my grandchildren and respect their friends and families. Of course, I understand the outside influences that are beyond an individual’s control and the risks of drugs, predators and how technology has become a substitute for playing with your friends; but isn’t that a parent’s job, to protect and teach? Every generation has faced challenges and I would place a bet that 50 years from now this generation will be writing how easy kids today had it compared to when they grew up.
Village of Mallory Square