Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Congratulations, You Survived.

Have you seen this video? http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GWRdHXbTmrs 
I've been sent this a few times in a few ways, Facebook, email, video, a written posting and it pisses me off every time I see or read it. Apparently we're all to be congratulated for living through the 60's, 70's and 80's. "We should all be dead," the video states in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, as if to say that just because we lived through having no bike helmets or having lead-based painted toys and cribs that we shouldn't bother with those dangers for our kids today. 
"We drank soda pop FULL of sugar and ate butter on our bread, but we were rarely overweight because we were always outside playing." Fair enough, but are you overweight and suffering from a heart condition now? Because the eating habits we learn in childhood is what we usually find very hard to break later in life! 
"And although we were told it would happen, we didn't put out any eyes!" Really? Ehhh, wrong! I'm betting many people did, including my friend's brother, who lost an eye to a careless slapshot. So, because the majority of people didn't become brain damaged from riding a bike without a helmet, or didn't become blind from neglecting to wear safety glasses while playing with a pellet gun, we should just not bother with those things! Well, I guess we should stop wearing seatbelts in cars too, and baby seats as well, because people used to ride round without that stuff all the time. They survived, so why shouldn't we? 
Uh, no. I'm sorry, but I'd rather "coddle" my children than take my chances playing Russian roulette with their lives on a highway.
"Some students were not as smart as others and were held back or failed a grade. Tests were not adjusted for ANY reason." And you think this is a good thing? Seeing all children in a black and white way like that? No room for individualism, no room for special needs, no room for learning disabilities, no exceptions. So pass or fail, that's it. While we're at it, let's just throw all the "special" kids, the "retards" (and I put that word in quotes because I really hate it, but I'd imagine that would be the word that the creator of this video would use) back into institutions where they don't bother the "normal" people of society. 
"We had freedom, failure, success, and responsibility and we learned to deal with it." This is the only part of this video that I can agree with. Yes, more parents need to give those things to our children but maybe the reason we don't is because these most recent generations are the first of their kind. We have so many more choices as parents than humans ever have had, so many more things to consider and watch out for. We are all just muddling through without much example from our own upbringing to go by. Many of us go for safe versus the risky choice. Maybe that translates to overprotective parenting sometimes, but that's just the way the world is today. In the 60's, 70's, 80's and much of the 90's there wasn't internet. We didn't have to hear every single story of every bad thing to happen to every child in North America. We weren't inundated with information about every choice we had to make. 
And progress, people, progress. 50 years ago kids didn't have car seats. Does that mean we are wimps for using them now? No. It means we are smarter. 100 years ago we didn't have pasteurization. Just because people lived through that doesn't mean we should all go out and drink unpasteurized milk now. 
So the creator of this video seems to think that because his generation spent all their time outside playing with sticks and not watching tv that this is the way it should be. That the most recent generation of new adults are severely flawed, and that every generation thereafter will be too. Well, we are learning as we go. And every generation has changes and adjustments of their own to make. We do the best we can given the circumstances. 
Did I grow up in the 70's? Yes. Do I think it was the absolute best time to grow up? No. I love that my kids were born into a new millennium. I think they're going to be smarter than me, and have more opportunities. Thanks to new technology, they're going to be exposed to a lot more of the world than I was. 
Hell yeah, I survived. But my kids, they'll do more than that; they'll thrive.