Simplistic? It sure is. So was that day and time.
I know many on those on the left like to throw around the idea conservatives want to go back to the good old days of the 1950s and 1960s. In a way, they’re absolutely correct. At least when it comes to me. I’ll admit it wholeheartedly.
I’ll also admit I believe in the Gibb’s Rule No. 29: There’s no such thing as a coincidence. And that’s where this column begins, by seeing a Facebook post for real estate in my hometown of Monroe, Mich. You see, the post was for a house at 5341 Timber Lane. The only house my parents ever built in their nearly 60-year marriage. A house built 50 years ago. The house I wanted to never move from. The perfect house. Ironically, sold too soon because my parents wanted to move to Colorado back in 1972. A move they didn’t make until their retirement 25 years later.
Yeah. I’d love to go back to those days and the decades that followed, or at least give my daughters those same kinds of decades in which to grow up. I also know current events — some good, some bad and some horrendous — prevent me from doing that. But that one picture brought me back to reality and connected the good, bad and horrendous.
Those days were pretty innocent.
I realize the 1960s were tumultuous for people in the inner city. And I also see the irony that many of those causing much of tumult are in charge today. But we’re talking about how I grew up, which is now known as white privilege. But that’s for another column, and it’s also not my fault. Nor do I feel in the least privileged, because white privilege is about guilt. That said, we’re not going do a history on my childhood here. This column is more about what I grew up believing and knowing related to how things are done today.
Let’s go the horrendous: mass shootings. I have no idea what would ever possess someone whose life is so out of control to commit such a heinous act. I also know a lot of folks whose lives have a ton of confusion, hurt and concerns. But they don’t shoot up public places. Do I know anyone in need of serious mental health treatment? No, I don’t. But I do know when I was growing up we had a couple of options for those who were in serious need. First, we intervened — much like the grandma in Texas the other day — when we saw things going a certain way. Second, we had state home options (not the best, I know) and we could place such a person into the system to get help or be removed from society if need be.
Today? We can’t place anyone into the system without their permission.
It also seems when someone says something, the authorities do nothing, as many of the current mass shooters have been known to authorities for years before they act. Today it’s all about taking a cure-all pill — pills with serious side effects — and hope and pray these people stay on their meds. Most shooters have been known to be on these drugs as well. Yes, I long for how we used to do it.
Let’s go to the bad. In my day, we played outside, rode bikes for blocks or miles to visit friends and hung out with a group of friends — male and female — through high school and college. Today, kids have some friends, but spend a lot of their time on their phones or playing games. Are they with friends doing that? To a point. But the social part is lacking because kids today are taught to communicate by device, not by voice. There’s a whole lot less human contact, and it removes the humanity from our lives. The old days were better.
The good? Many of the problems we face today could be fixed if we went back to the habits and actions of the “old days.” In no way am I saying let’s all go live “Leave it to Beaver” or “The Danny Thomas Show” — although I do have a thing for Donna Reed from back in the day. Well, before my day.
I’m talking about such habits as talking to one another face to face; playing together in groups; keeping an eye out for our fellow man, especially if they’re going down the wrong path; and putting the humanity back into the humans we encounter. I know this sounds simplistic, but I also know this would solve a lot of problems before they happen. I also realize 900 words in a column only allows me to generalize, not provide specifics.
But if we did things like the old days, think of what we could prevent and accomplish. We have the grandma example of saving her grandson’s life and the lives of others. We could get more folks the help they need — with a better solution than “state homes” to boot. Our kids would have better social skills and not feel so isolated. It would be a much more innocent world to live in, even though it’s not necessarily a more innocent world.
That’s what makes the United States of America great. Being the beacon of hope and good in the world. The way we’re acting now? Not so much.