In my estimation, the Age of Aquarius will begin when American parents shut the babblers down and return parenting — to borrow from the vernacular of the 1960s — back to the people.
Because today’s parents have no experiential understanding of the way it was, I’ll highlight a few of the more salient features of pre-1960s childhood. But before I do, I’ll respond to those who claim that I “idealize” the 1950s.
No, I do not. I simply maintain what is verifiable fact: American children were better off back then — as well off, in fact, as they’d ever been and certainly a whole lot happier than today’s kids.
The biggest difference was that mom and dad paid more attention to and talked more to one another than they paid attention to and talked to their kids. In fact, kids back then didn’t get a whole lot of attention from their parents. We were supposed to pay attention to them, not they to us.
And so, by the time we went to school, we’d learned to give our undivided attention to adults, which is why we were taught successfully (our academic achievement was much higher than today’s kids) in overcrowded classrooms.
By the time we were in our early elementary years, we were doing more for our moms, in the form of chores, than they were doing for us. Oh, and our moms weren’t “involved” with us. Oh, happy day. They expected us to figure out our own entertainment, do our own homework, settle our own squabbles, lie in the beds we made and stew in our own juices.
Need I point out that today’s mom is doing nearly all of that for her child, including the stewing?
We were allowed to express our opinions, but they didn’t count for much (and shouldn’t have). And no, we were definitely not allowed to express our feelings freely. Have you ever met someone who expresses his or her feelings freely, without regard for the sensibilities of others? That defines an obnoxious, narcissistic, sociopathic boor.