With all the chaos and fear going on in the world today, I thought I would take a moment to reminisce of days gone by in my life. Following is my memory of my youth.
My growing years were during the generation of the 50’s and 60’s. This was a time of kid-friendly cartoons such as, Popeye, Mickey Mouse, and family type pictures such as My Three Sons, Father Knows Best, Donna Reed Show, Guiding Light, and, how could I forget about the Three Stoogies, a kid’s program my mother thought was too violent for us kids to watch. And for entertainment, it was the Ed Sullivan Show and Soul Train. We thought we had the life!
The above shows helped to shape the lives of us baby boomers struggling to find our identity amongst our parents and grandparents who survived the pains of the depression era, along with Black Families trying to comingle with other cultures, what an interesting mix. We watched our TV shows on a little brown box with an octagon picture shaped screen. These TV programs set the standard for how I thought families were to function. I used these programs to rate my parent’s guidance in my life. I expected my Parents to be like the “TV Parents,” and when they didn’t, I thought something was wrong with them, little did I know at that young age that these programs were not “real” by make believe.
For the most part, life was simple and very enjoyable. Children were respectful toward their parents, the elderly, teachers, and those in authority, if not we feared the consequences when the rules were broken. I am the oldest of 8 children and we learned to live in harmony and to enjoy being with each other. During summer months, we spent our free time outside playing, using our imagination and our mind for fun. During winter months, for entertainment other then TV, we played board games for hours.
Dinner hour was always interesting, there was no such thing as going out to eat, all piled around the table as a family and ate what was set before us. If you didn’t like what Mom cooked, a second meal was not cooked, you went to bed hungry.
This also was a time of assurance and stability for us kids, for it was uncommon for Mothers to work outside of the home. So there was a sense of security within me when I came home from school and my Mom was home waiting for me with a snack already prepared – what a relief to have Mom there. But, that changed when I turned 16, Mom went to work and I remember how awful I felt – a feeling of abandonment!
Peer pressure was nothing like the kids have to deal with today. The most difficult time I experienced as a youth was being teased for being “too tall” and “too skinny.” This teasing caused me to dislike who God created me to be. This period of my life caused me to suffer from “rejection” at an early age. Aside from that, everyone was busy going through the 60’s “Love Flower” era and loving everyone. Children didn’t compete over clothes – how to out dress one another, everyone was too tuned into the music of the 60’s – the “Rock and Roll” generation. Love was the “Theme” for the 60’s.
I learned of God at the age of 7 or 8. My Mother used to read Bible stories to me and my siblings. Those stories planted the seed of wanting to know more of “this God.” Unfortunately, because I didn’t really know God, I suffered through fears of rejection and feeling that my life had no meaning. At the age of 24 I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and at the age of 34 the “God I wanted to know more of” begin healing me from my fears and wounds. My life is still a “work in progress” but I’m loving every moment of what God is blessing me with. To God be the glory.