The Edmond Sun


July 28, 2012

Growing up, then vs. now

McClatchy — Jim Fusilli, rock and pop reviewer for The Wall Street Journal, recently opined that Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 Songs of All Time reflected “boomer bias,” pointing out that a disproportionate number of selections were from the 1960s and 1970s. That got me thinking of the many times I’ve been accused of idealizing 1950s child rearing. I do, in fact, often compare the manner in which children were raised in those halcyon days with today’s “parenting,” daring to say that the 1950s was a much better time for kids.

One example: We controlled our games. We decided what, where, and when we were going to play. When we were of sufficient number, we picked the captains who choose the teams (so we learned to play both with and against everyone). We figured out who was going to play what position, the rules, fair versus foul, and so on. Today’s kids play organized sports that are micromanaged by well-intentioned but very misguided adults who actually think they’re doing them a favor. We may not have become better ball players (debatable) but we had more fun, developed better social skills and we never got trophies for anything.

I maintain that compared with today’s kids, we boomers had much better manners, more respect for adults and better social skills overall. For example, we looked people in the eye when we talked to them and we didn’t grunt. But in all fairness, we weren’t connected to cell phones and other forms of anti-social media. We wore our shirts tucked into our pants, which fit, and the only kid who wore his hat turned around backwards was the catcher on the baseball team.

It’s a fact that the mental health of children in the 1950s was considerably better than is the case concerning today’s kids. We were a whole lot less likely to become seriously depressed, commit suicide or develop debilitating anxieties.

We were less violent. When I attended Valdosta High School in Valdosta, Ga., almost all the junior and senior boys came to school with guns in the trunks of their cars during hunting season. The principal knew as did all the parents and teachers. No one was concerned. From what I gather, Valdosta High School was by no means unique in that regard.

Most boomers came to first grade not knowing their ABCs, yet we outperformed today’s kids at every grade level while sitting in what today would be considered overcrowded, underfunded classrooms. We achieved economic independence from our parents at earlier ages. By the time I was 24, I knew of no one my age still living at home. And we were not living in posh digs, by any means. My wife and I, for example, brought our first child home to a 40-foot long single-wide trailer. We got a ride from the hospital because we had no car. We ate lots of frozen chicken pot pies (after cooking them, of course). But we didn’t know we were poor. We were free! Today’s kids, by and large, are not programmed for deprivation of any sort.

I’ll stop there. Fusilli might say I suffer from “boomer bias,” but I most definitely do not. Tom Brokaw called my parents’ generation the Greatest Generation, but he was most definitely wrong. The Greatest of All American Generations was the generation of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and George Washington, but the next few generations still burned brightly. In 1839, Alexis de Toqueville wrote that “In American there is strictly speaking no adolescence. At the close of boyhood, the man appears.” It’s been sliding slowly downhill since then, I think, and more recently, it’s fallen off a cliff.

In short, I do not idealize the 1950s. Nonetheless, I am convinced there really is such a thing as the “good old days.”

FAMILY psychologist John Rosemond answers parents’ questions on his web site at

Text Only
  • Crazy spring weather brings frantic pleas

    It was a bright and sunny Saturday morning. Tulips were blooming, squirrels were all a’skitter, my allergy-prone nose was running ninety-to-nothing, and workmen were in my yard leaning on rakes at $18 an hour. You might know I’d be anxious to remedy that! They were waiting to get started on spreading 60 bags of mulch, which I was belatedly on my way to reserve and pre-pay so they could pick it up and get started. Rush ... rush ... rush, and oh my aching back.

    April 19, 2014

  • Oklahoma History Center new home for Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame

    The Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame has a new home at the Oklahoma History Center. Created in 1999, the hall of fame, operated by the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation, has been housed the past several years at Oklahoma Christian University but there was no available space to display photographs and information on the inductees.

    April 18, 2014

  • pink.jpg Local children win Edmond Sun Easter coloring contest

    Two local children were named winners of The Edmond Sun’s Easter coloring contest. At left, Madsion Porter, 4, daughter of Tracy Porter, won a princess Easter basket, which included a tiara, tea set, stuffed bunny rabbit and chocolate rabbit. At right, BriAnna Harbaugh, 9, daughter of Leslie Haubaugh, won a Hello Kitty Easter basket, containing art supplies, a Hello Kitty stuffed animal and a chocolate bunny.  The families also received a three-month subscription to The Edmond Sun. For your own subscription to The Edmond Sun, visit, call 341-2121, or visit 123 S. Broadway.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Annual Turkish art and food festival set for April 26-27

    Raindrop Foundation is a nonprofit cultural organization that seeks to promote friendship and understanding through shared understanding and community experiences. This free event is set for 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 26 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 27 at 4444 N. Classen Blvd., Oklahoma City.
    This year Raindrop Foundation will bring cultural entertainment and education to Oklahoma City area by presenting the Annual Turkish Art and Food Festival. The festival will feature Turkish folk dances, traditional music, water marbling art, whirling dervishes, calligraphy, traditional art of felting, China pieces as well as original arts and crafts for sale to the public.

    April 18, 2014

  • Health seminar focuses on Oklakhoma’s high suicide rate

    OU Outreach and Norman Regional Health System are offering a new health seminar titled “Circle of Care Methodology: Risk Assessment and Prevention of Suicide.” The seminar will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 24 at the Norman Regional Hospital Education Center. Suicide touches many people’s lives. This seminar focuses on the Circle of Care Methodology, which engages a holistic and mitigating approach to the issues and care that is required to address suicidal ideations, attempts, completions and the aftermath.
    The cost is $45 per person, and seating is limited. There will be free parking onsite for all seminar attendees. For more information, visit

    April 18, 2014

  • Film documentary explores hunger in America

    The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma will host a screening of the 2012 documentary, “A Place at the Table,” at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Food Bank Volunteer Center, 3355 S. Purdue, Oklahoma City. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The story documents the struggle of food insecure people in the United States.
    Author Joel Berg will be present as a featured guest. Guests also will have the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion about the issue of hunger in our communities. The screening is free, but seating is limited to 275 people. For more information, go online to

    April 18, 2014

  • Nominations being accepted for Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame

    The Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation is accepting nominations through June 1 for inductees into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame. Oklahoma veterans including Medal of Honor recipients have been being honored by the hall of fame since 1999. A banquet and ceremony honoring those selected this year for the hall of fame will be Nov. 8 at the Tower Hotel, formerly Marriott Hotel, at 3233 Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City.
    Nominees can be living or deceased. Nomination forms can be obtained by writing to the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 30658, Edmond, OK, 73003; or on the foundation’s website at

    April 18, 2014

  • Annual wheelchair basketball tournament set

    OU Medicine will present the 6th Annual Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, benefiting the Greater Oklahoma Disabled Sports Association, April 24 at Oklahoma City University. Teams from OU Medicine administration, anesthesiology, neurosurgery, nursing, otolaryngology, surgery and urology, and a team from 180 Medical will compete in 10-minute exhibition basketball games against wheelchair athletes from GODSA. All participants will compete in wheelchairs.
    The free event will begin at 5:40 p.m. at OCU’s Freede Wellness Center, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave. Fundraising activities including a silent auction, baked goods sale and more. Funds will help GODSA athletes purchase sports equipment and travel for national basketball tournaments. For more information, call 271-6900.

    April 18, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 18, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 17, 2014