As the leaves turn and fall to the ground, I look to life for the metaphor that will help to comprehend current events. Earlier in my life, I reflected this season as the time to gather knowledge. I was excited to put together clothes and cover books that would take me to school and show my eagerness to meet new people, and learn each day. Now the differences to the preparation for school is not so different , and clothes will be bought and books are handed out but the process is so different that the only resemblance is that the kids are now still going to school. They all have different times of the day, and teachers are required to be politically correct in every sense. But mostly, the students are different. In the last few generations the vast amount of information needed to survive has increased to a degree that “other normal matters”. I think technology has set that tone and creates a space of avoidance from those issues that help us mature, or in some ways mature too fast in this vastness, missing important emotional growth. This is not to say that it was not stressful then, whenever then was, but today is so packed full of issues of race, religion, lack of religion, political correctness and fear of life. I suppose I would create my own space as well.
For example sexual issues where always around but no one spoke about them due to a strong sense of shame, therefore if you were brought to deal with it most likely it was on your own. People didn’t share that kind of information and so it reflected extreme difficulty on the person going through this life event. I met a woman in her eighties who told me of her son who had been molested in school during the years of nine to eleven years old and how this had affected his life to the degree that he could not function normally and by the age of his late forties he overdosed on his medication. She and her family did not learn of his incident in school until years later and they dealt with it in retrospect. It is harder to manage an injustice that way because it is set in another time frame. Today, this would have been an issue that would be discussed over and over on the talk shows and the news as to how it relates legally, who would sue who and the entire minutia that goes with this subject. Not only would it be reflected in the schools but also in family, friends, sports, and church as well.
I know that this is thought to be a better way because it helps others who have or might experience this; however it also hurts the families and friends of those currently on that path trying to deal with what is altering their lives and emotionally damaging at that time.
There are so many happy times that occur during those years and programs on television have reflected on some of the more lighthearted subjects. “Happy Days” was one of these shows. It seemed to grab the emotional side and set an example to something that would mean something from the direction of one character or another. Then it would take us back to a place where we too could learn from the setting in relationship to our own life. So antiquated now as the subjects dating back sixty years would be a decision of who to go with to the dance. So what do people reflect on? “Survivor” in a totally unrealistic setting, or “The Amazing Race”, which is an over exaggerated scavenger hunt , Talent shows that criticize the performers, and legal and forensic programs. And the movies do cover subject s of current issues like dating but the end result is far from Happy Days.
So I suppose my point here lies in fact that although we are in some ways better, in my opinion, not so much in others. It appears, that the level of maturity has dropped off and the quality of life is not as rich as when we knew it . Not true! In conversing with friends about their married children and their children, and also in talking with our own, I have come to know that because of all the information given to them over the years, they have taken the pieces of the puzzle that was important to their families and discarded the rest. They do not look to shows on “ Happy Days” for reflection in their lives , however I certainly do not reflect in “How I met your Mother” for my life.
That said, as time moves on humans find a way to survive in whatever era they are allowed to endure and will see life through their own eyes, as will their children.
As the kids crunch and kick the leaves beneath their feet on their way to school, I can feel sure that at least something is the same.