by Paul Big Bear
I was at brunch the other day, a couple’s get together, lots of smiles, laughs, memories, and the topic of children/grandchildren came up. After we discussed the clothes, hair styles, tattoos, piercings, and ever present cell phones, the topic of behavior took over. As we remembered dinners where the family sat at the table together to eat, hats off, elbows off the table, the phone sat on a table at the bottom of the steps and no one made or took calls during a meal. Grace was said and we had two choices for dinner; eat or don’t eat. Our collective day was discussed as mom would say “How was your day dear?” to which dad would give a brief synopsis of his day and return “and yours?” It was good, the laundry dried quickly (on the clothesline) so the beds have clean sheets.”
Mom was a stay at home mom who cooked, cleaned, was there when you got home, alone or with friends. We played outside and knew to be home when the whistle at the firehouse blew five O’clock. There was no foul language, everyone was polite, and no one schemed to “get away with something.” Then the children were asked about their day, activities, homework, and in turn we asked if we could go; fishing, camping, to the movies, on a bike hike? Of course all this was weather permitting, and homework was done, and of course money, had you earned the cost of your big day? “Those were certainly different times.” Today the news is filled with horror stories of juvenile behavior, one story; two youngsters hotwired and stole a car eventually crashing the vehicle, they were 10 and 12 years of age. Every day there are stories of youngsters, under 16 with guns, assaulting other youngsters and older people, stealing from homes, stores, school lockers, and having brought up schools, youngsters with arsenals shooting up schools.
We did finally solve the problem; so called kid shows depicting truly rude behavior, TV commercials selling outrageously priced sneakers, pants (pre ripped) and oversized to hang below the buttocks. I can’t’ recall the last time I saw a belt. We started our day walking to school with friends, saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and a silent prayer. We had not video games, period, much less ones that taught us to destroy the world. We watched puppet shows like “Rootie Kazootie” “Bertie the Bunyup” “Sherri Lewis and Lambchop” we had children’s shows like Sally Starr, Uncle Pete Boyle, Gene London, Pixanne, Captain Kangaroo, Captain Noah, Chief Halftown, and Mr. Rogers I was blessed to meet and become friends with these special friends (Sally to Mr. Rogers). Between the 1940’s and 2002 1400 children’s shows have been documented. All of these hosts enforced good behavior, help mom and dad at home, study and do your homework. They were our friends, we looked forward to watching their shows and the “Popeye Cartoons” “The Three Stooges” and more that entertained us, made us laugh, and I don’t recall anyone who poked anyone in the eyes or sent to ACME for a way to get the Road Runner. We knew it was just entertainment. We asked mom for Banana Wackies cereal because it was advertised as having banana flavored marshmallow and was more fun than playing golf with a gorilla and that was all we needed to know.