Generations

One of my interest in genealogy and when you delve into the past you can’t help thinking about what it was like to live without comforts of central heating, fitted carpets,  microwave ovens,  computers and mobile phones.
Life was hard, that was obvious but what we would consider a hard life now, in some cases would have been luxury to our ancestors.
I thought of my parent’s generation, my generation and my daughter’s and the simple differences on how we were all brought up.
My parents started work at the age of 14/15, after a spell in domestic service my mother trained as a psychiatric nurse.
My father went into an engineering apprenticeship.
Neither had academic qualifications and my mother was a natural at her job, dad was brilliant at his, but they learned the hard way – hands on.
They were excellent loving parents who after marriage, my mother gave up her work (as was expected then) she then became an A1 homemaker.
There was no fast food, unless you count the fish ‘n’ chip shop or ice cream shop, mum did all the cooking, cleaning and baking and best of all, she was always there for us.    They would have been extremely comfortably off in today’s generation but not so then.
In my situation at least, there were family units, grannies and grandpas, aunts and uncles and the close friends who had been given the honorary titles of aunt and uncle because we would not address our elders by their first names otherwise.
All of these seem to be equally responsible for our well being and happy to clip our ears if we stepped out of line.

My generation came through the hippy years, and with more women working after marriage, it was easier to get a mortgage with two wages being fully taken into consideration and with that the rise in house sales and the ultimate rise in house prices.  This started the process, women had to work to help with the mortgage and many of the children could no longer depend on the complete parental care.
I’ve never seen the point of having children then farming them out to someone else to care for – and influence.
Things also became easier in home care, gadgets galore making sure it was easier for working mothers.
I opted to stay at home to care for my daughter, my mother had been there for me and I have always appreciated that , I felt the best I could give my child was to be there for her and make sure she had a good education.
I’ve never regretted that choice although we weren’t well off and it was a struggle for us financially.

My daughter’s generation is quite something else.
Welfare benefits for those know the system can get a single mum a home, large council tax discounts and lots of benefits meaning and she has no need to work, the welfare subscribe heavily to her.
The girls talk openly about getting pregnant to get a house and benefits.
They can be seen out with the best of pushchairs which are forward facing so their child cannot see them, they have a cigarette in one hand and talk constantly on a mobile phone not the child.
I think it is so sad that our generation has allowed that to happen.
I took my daughter everywhere I could, we went for walks and picnics in the local park.
I cooked her meals and taught her to cook.
Many young families today exist on take-away meals.  I learned a great deal from my parents as they did from theirs and I feel that is where the learning is, you can’t put it in a text book.
Dr Spock started it which encouraging free expression yet his own son committed suicide and his was the type of advice we were encouraged to take.
Not all parents are good, we know that as well but the way things are, it seems the majority has to suffer in order to protect the minority, surely there are better ways.
The family nucleus seems to have been replaced by the street gang family.
I’ve heard foul language being used by grandchildren to their parents and grandparents and sometimes with the threat to report them.
So much authority has been taken away from parents and with that seems to have gone, the skill of parenting, respect for elders and authority.
What will happen with the next generation I wonder.

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