Recently, I was playing bunco with a bunch of wonderful women. (Yes, I play bunco now. That's another post entirely.) We were taking turns answering questions from one of those ice-breaker books and a really great issue came up.
Do you think the world will be a better place 100 years from now?
I immediately answered "Of course!"
A bit too loudly it turns out because everyone else just as quickly answered no. One woman in particular seemed to be shocked by my answer. As way of explanation, I made the most logical analogy I could which was "Well would you want to live 100 years ago?" This seemed obvious to me - if you think life is better now than 100 years ago, why wouldn't it continue getting better? The march of modern civilization. Yada yada yada.
It seemed just as obvious to me that her answer would be no. Of course she doesn't want to live 100 years ago! As a woman, you couldn't vote, own property in most states, and your husband could beat or rape you with impunity. I mean 1910 was not exactly the year of the woman.
Well, imagine my surprise when she answered yes. In fact, several women in the room seemed interested in the glory days of the early 20th Century - before birth control, before microwaves, before OPRAH.
And the myth of the golden age strikes again.
"Kids these days just don't respect their elders." "Parents just let their children run wild now a days!" "When I was young, people showed personal responsibility."
IT WEARS. ME. OUT.
I understand that it is most likely some basic psychological response that is hard-wired into our brains but just the same. Things really weren't that great 20 or 50 or 100 years ago. I'm 28 and I had friends having sex in 6th grade. My mother is in her 50's. In high school, she wore skirts so short they wouldn't pass a dress code in the tri-state area. My great-grandmother is 98. When Elvis came along, I'm pretty sure he looked to her like the second coming of Satan.
What I'm saying is that we should all just calm the hell down.
I know the internet seems like a wellspring for every form of sexual deviance known to man but it also is source of support and endless information to those who need it. I know that there is some pretty nasty stuff on TV but there is also amazing art that inspires and educates. And I know some kids really don't have any respect for their elders but they aren't the first and I truly believe they are the exception not the rule.
There are some really great kids out there. Kids who will encounter a world full of promise and possibility.
At least I hope so, because I'm currently raising one myself.