Monday, September 14, 2015

Our Troubled Youth


Today's youth are troubled and, in my mind, I'm trying to figure out why when they are born into an advanced society with so many advantages.

When I was a kid, most folks had an elementary school education, worked for minimum pay in less than favorable conditions, and oftentimes found themselves on strike because of unfair labor practices. Money was scarce,  people stood in food lines to acquire basic necessities like flour, butter, and cheese, and our men went to war, many of them never to return again.

I was ten years old before our family purchased our first television set. Programs aired from 5:00p.m. until 8 o'clock, and as far as I can remember, consisted of newsreels and Howdy Dowdy. We went to bed early listening to the radio. My favorite broadcast was Inner Sanctum. It always opened with the sound of a squeaking door that sent chills up my spine. The Thin Man was another program which featured detective stories that were always solved in thirty minutes, and the good guys were always victorious.

We lived in our maternal grandparents' home, and were surrounded by our relatives whose dwellings were only a few blocks away. We attended the same church, went to the same school, and played at the same community center. Nobody was a stranger, everybody knew everybody, and looked out for one another. The adults socialized at the Slavs Club on the weekends, while the children gathered for sleepovers being supervised by the grandparents. When Baba said it was time for bed, no one dared make a peep until the sun rose the next morning.

I was never exposed to drugs during my youth. I don't believe anybody I knew or hung out with was either. We never even thought of drinking beer or having sex. As a matter of fact, I'm not even sure we knew what sex was let alone be interested in experiencing it. We never used the words vagina or penis because we had no idea there were such words. We called both 'pee pees'.

I'm sure many of you reading this would consider our growing up years sadly wanting, and our ignorance during that time in our lives, terribly naive. And in many respects, you'd be absolutely right. But in our defense, we lived a simple, carefree life with strong familial bonds,were schooled in our faith and values, and enjoyed a ton of wholesome outdoor exploration. We were always in the company of folks who had our backs, and would never do anything to contaminate our bodies and minds. Our troubles consisted of getting a C on a spelling test, or having to skip a matinee because we didn't have the quarter for admission.

After jotting these memories down, I've discovered I've actually answered my original question, Today's youth are troubled BECAUSE they are born into an advanced society with SO MANY ADVANTAGES!