Thursday, April 10, 2014

Generational Observations

In a recent podcast, Nate and Viidad/Seven were discussing some generational observations. Mostly, they were ripping on Baby Boomers, and deservedly so. The Baby Boomers, collectively, are bringing about the downfall of this once great country. Some are working on this purposefully, but most are unwittingly bringing it about because of their attitudes and how they have lived their lives. Unfortunately, they'll be with us for a while longer. But this isn't what I want to talk about.

By the way, if you haven't checked out Nate's podcast, you should. He and Seven are a real hoot to listen to. I think Nate might very well be able to fill two or three hours daily with stuff, if he wanted to.

The thing I want to talk about is the Gen-X phenomenon of Latchkey Kids. I was a Latchkey Kid, from first or second grade on. This means that I, as a 7 or 8 year old, was responsible for getting myself up, getting ready for school, walking to school, and walking back home to do my homework and then watch TV until my parents got home. My mom was a teacher and had a 30-minute commute, and she had to drive my dad to his job because he couldn't drive. So I was alone for 2-3 hours every afternoon.

This was usually just fine, and I was able to handle it. There were a few incidents where older kids would pick on me or beat me up. I hate to say that I didn't fight back, as I was taught not to... I sure wish I had fought back. My life might have advanced down a better path in certain ways. I was pretty much a "gamma" as a kid.

The thing is, though: I have five kids, and one of them is that same age today, in second grade. I couldn't even imagine forcing him to do this! The only one of the five that I could see handling that responsibility is my oldest, but even then, our family really is blessed that my wife is able to stay home with them so that they aren't forced to grow up early and can be kids.

However, were I and my fellow Gen-X Latchkey Kids the unintended beneficiaries of being forced to grow up early? Did this lead us to become somewhat more independent in general? By the time I got to high school, I couldn't wait to get out of the house and be on my own. My family felt very constricting to me, I just wanted to bust out.

My kids aren't like that, they don't feel the same urge to leave the nest, and it seems to me that they should, at least a little bit. I'm glad that they do love our family so much that they don't want to leave, but then again I want them to be confident, independent adults.

Maybe my job dissatisfaction has a lot to do with this same dynamic: I feel forced to go to a job I no longer really like because I have bills to pay and I don't know how to break out of the employee mode and try to make it on my own. I thought it would be a good career, and I worked hard to pursue it, but over the last 20 years it just hasn't happened for me.

6 comments:

WaterBoy said...

"The thing I want to talk about is the Gen-X phenomenon of Latchkey Kids."

It started even before that. When the men started going off to WWII, some of their wives had to go to work to support their families. The tail end of the Silent Generation were really the first latchkey kids.

I was also a latchkey kid as a tail-end Boomer. My mother was widowed due to a car accident with four children all under 7 years, and had to go back to work in nursing to support us. When I started school, she would get us up and ready and off to school before heading to work. After school, we would head to a babysitter's house until she got off (when we were younger), and eventually just to our own house as we got old enough to do so. It was no big deal, as there were neighbors all around us and everybody watched out for everyone else. Different times.

But you're right about the effect on independence. I actually moved out on my own right after I turned 18 while I was still in high school.

And my own children were also latchkey kids, and moved out as soon as they could, too.

WaterBoy said...

Interesting...according to this website, Colorado DHS recommends that children not be left unsupervised until the age of 12.

Res Ipsa said...

As the kids get older mom and dad want to make rules and the kids know that mom and dad ditched them when they were young. Since the kids have in some sense "been on their own", they just move on and do it full time rather than deal with house rules.

I think all kids grow to a point where they want to get on with their life. If the kids grew up with a good mom and dad, they don't see the need to leave a comfortable situation. Eventually you will put your foot down about dating or using the car, or your children will discover the opposite sex and they will decide that your home is nice to visit, but they really want to go do their own thing.

They'll be gone soon enough, no need to rush it.

Astrosmith said...

Hmm. Well, we followed that law, never left them alone until the oldest was 12. It is so nice now that we don't have to hire a babysitter. Our oldest gets lots of babysitting jobs for others that pay, too.

Yeah, Res, I suppose that in a few years they will feel differently. They just aren't in the same rush that I was to leave home, which is good.

And I'm not really criticizing my parents with this post, though it may appear that way. My mom always made more money than my dad did, so they both had to work. That's fine. Where they messed up was when they divorced and left my little sister messed up for a while.

I'm proud of my little sister, though. She screwed up in her late teens, but after that she worked her ass off to turn it all around and now she is an RN and can support her family. (My BIL was injured a few years ago and can't find steady work.)

Ah well.

Yep, we want them to visit. They can even just bring their kids over and we'll spoil them up good.

Gdeck bob said...

Latch-key, Gen-X, baby boomers... All subjective labels.

We were all just kids once, like kids since the beginning of time.

What changed us was TV. Think about it. TV gave those who would control the world the power to control us, our women and our kids.

TV programs where Dad and son are bumbling idiots, where Mom and daughter are all-wise but mercifully tolerant of those hopeless and hapless males, programs where it is preferable for little white girls to admire and interbreed only with black men(that's not racist, just an observable a fact).

Watch cartoons like "Family Guy", or "American Dad", or programs like "The View" or "Oprah" if you need any proof. It's all right in front of your face, if you care to look.

Programs that hammer away about how normal homosexuality and lesbianism is, how diversity is our real strength, how bigoted, racist, sexist and homophobic the white male really is, and how the white male is and has been the source of every problem known to man since the dawn of time, how truly evil whites are, and how the evil white male should be bred out of existence.

The drumbeats of Equality, diversity, tolerance.

Our women fell for it... all of it. The boys, not so much. So they invented mental problems in our sons: Attention disorders, bad conduct and disruption in the classroom, you name it.. and started drugging them to the hilt during the critical developmental times of their young lives.

And we just stood by.

After TV, video games. Controlling the boys through video games was far more effective than the drugs, and of course - more subtle and undetectable.

CONTROL.

We American adult males? They kept us distracted with sports and/or sex. It's unbelievable how many white males think that something like a basketball or football game - where half-savage and barbaric undeserved millionaires endlessly repeat the same tired old drama week after week for millions - is somehow important in their lives.

How many males do you presently know that are obsessed with "game"? Or how many sex partners they have "conquered"?

And now we are witnessing the results of their incredibly successful efforts.

While most of us were trying to make life more livable and better for our families, our women and children were being brainwashed against us.

And you wonder why nobody respects you? Why you can't get ahead? Take a hard look at who and what is holding you back at work. It's not your fault.

But maybe it is, since 90% of us paid no attention whatever to what was happening in Washington and the power centers of America, in our colleges and universities, our schools, the media and Hollywood.

Can the tide change? Hah. Get real, the tide is not yet finished coming in.

We may end up fighting our own children, those who have been taught to believe we are the evil ones, the enemies of all mankind.

If they can disarm us, we are finished. And keep in mind that 46 United States Senators just voted to give the United Nations the power to do exactly that.

The real hard part of all this is about to begin.

Susan said...

Astro, Be blessed that your kids love their family life and want to hang around. That tells me that you have kids who love their family and who just maybe are doing their own thinking, instead of responding to peer pressure.

TV has just ruined so much of society with its messages. Just because your kids love their family, doesn't mean they lack confidence. If you think that Astro, that is just TV talking at you. My two left when they felt it was right, not because they felt forced to. Daughter went to college after high school and loved it, son moved out about 6 months after he graduated.

They are in their 30's now Astro, and they are both happy with their lives, and they still love and honor their parents.

Isn't that what a parent wants to happen?