Much of the content for this post is currently circling the internet and being revisited on other, obviously less inspiring, Blogs – and, through countless emails (which is where I got some of this material).
However, I’ll take my own license, here, and add to it’s memorialization, because the point made, here, is poignant – and, it represents naught but vital lessons. Also, I can embellish with all manner of fascinating insight, because I want to. And, I know you’ll read it; all of it. Do it!
Afterwards, once this information has struck home, perhaps you’ll sally forth and spank your child when they misbehave (otherwise, do you damn them?). You might even fire that obnoxious, self-entitled, uninspired employee, likely born after 1980, with whom you, hopefully, can’t relate, that takes advantage of you because they don’t have the balls, discipline or “home-training” that you represent as an entrepreneur, change-agent and thought leader that makes many of us born before 1980, well, different.
So… This is relevant to all those kids, certainly me, who survived life through the 1970’s. We and our parents were inspired and influenced by “The Greatest Generation” – our Grandparents. Whereas, most born after 1980 were inspired and influenced by 90210. This is apparently a vital cut-off period, because a lot has changed since 1979 (In High School, a handful of us dueled locally through the mile under 4:20. When was the last time you saw that?). And, a lot of it’s, arguably, not particularly good.
Today, many people in their twenties sophomorically refer to themselves as “entrepreneurial” because they think it’s cool. But, to them risk means having to start a new job without access to a new BMW from Dad as a graduation present rewarding them for graduating under six years. Risk can also be defined for them as having to work more than twenty five hours a week and “losing my [their] freedom to travel the world and experience life”. I actually interviewed a young woman who said that to me with a straight face.
In any event, I’m sharing, here, with you, the unoriginal stuff (although you know I’ll embellish) you are seeing elsewhere.
Here we go…
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. I have photographs of my Mother, who was a Sacramento debutante, doing both at the Officers Club while clearly pregnant with me (she looks great, and clearly having a blast). They also took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes (diabetes was a rare concern then).
Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.
We had no child-proof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets on our heads.
And when we had our sleds, we tied them to the bumper of a car, and had a really neat ride, as long as you made sure you didn’t slide under the car when it stopped (all we had to do was use our wits, and coordination developed by tree-climbing).
As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes (never mind that most cars were hard to manage over 55 mph).
Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose (from a known source), and not from a bottle (from an unknown and highly suspect source).
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this. By the way… We were only allowed soda pop once or twice a week. It wasn’t part of our daily diet designed to over stimulate our sugar-saturated heads (and teeth).
We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter or lard and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren’t overweight.
…because we were always outside playing.
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were OKAY. Mostly because all the Moms knew and understood the rules and drill.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Play stations, Nintendo’s and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD’s, no surround-sound or CD’s, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.
We had friends, and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes (well… okay… it did happen to Tony Robash in 1969 – but, he jumped out of the tree, had a sharp stick, and dared his brother Raymond to shoot him with a BB gun while in the air. Those are tough odds to beat).
We rode bikes, or walked to a friend’s house – and knocked on the door, or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Games like soccer were played to win. Because it’s okay to practice really hard, maybe more than other people, and test your hard earned skills on the field. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment.
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law.
We can example, after example, after example. But, to be sure, these generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors since the dawn of the modern-age.
The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. The Inc. 100 changed 16% in the 1970’s because we became migratory. The Inc. 100 changed 26% in the 1980’s because of facsimile and paging related technologies. The Inc. 100 changed 69% in the 1990’sbecause of the internet. The Inc. 100 might change only 29% in the new 2000’s because of social networking. Mind you, I’ll submit “only” might be subjective.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
If you can count yourself amongst the “inspired generation”, and I do, oh well done, I say.
You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good. While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.
You don’t need to find a pair of scissors and dash madly through the house. But, don’t go unhinged if your kids do. Breathe.
I’m listening to The Road by Jackson Brown.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork