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REMEMBERING THE AMERICA I KNOW AND LOVE

While in a discussion this morning on Twitter, some very deep, real and haunting realizations hit me. Many people may disagree, but I honestly believe the generation of today has it much worse off than we had it as kids. The strange thing is that, being not even 38 years old, I am not what I would consider old.

I chuckle to myself when I think back to the age-old stories of parents telling their kids, “You think you have it bad? When I was your age I had to walk five miles to school- uphill both ways!” And for added kicks and giggles, there was the occasional, “…. and in the snow!”.  Now, I am sure there are people out there that this was indeed true for, but for the majority of people who have told similar stories this is a drastic exaggeration.

I’m sure it was a stern, yet loving reminder to us that we should be grateful for the blessings of the life we have had.

Yes indeed, I was truly blessed beyond measure in my childhood! While I experienced many adversities – many more, the older I got- I still knew that I was indeed very blessed! Oh, this does not mean that I did not complain about my life! But I am sure most children have!

Oh, what I would give for my children to know the America I grew up in! It was not perfect by any means, but I never doubted that I was safe. Yes, as adults, we realize that the definition of “safe” is very subjective. We can walk outside tomorrow and be hit by a car. But in the overall realm of things, as a child, I had the strongest of confidences that I was safe.

Throughout the history of this nation there have been wars and the threat of war. During the “Cold War” specifically, the fear of a nuclear bomb compelled “Duck and Cover” drills. What I find odd is if a nuclear bomb goes off, what in the world is that flimsy little desk going to protect the children from? There we go again with the meanderings of my mind!

Strangely enough, I do not ever recall saying to my children, “You think you have it bad?! When I was growing up……”

What I have said, instead, is, “Oh how I wish you knew the America I knew and love from when I was growing up!”

There is a distinct difference in my tone and meaning from the other statement that we chuckle about.

When I was a child, The Pledge of Allegiance was part of our everyday life. Just last week I saw this news article:
Pledge of Allegiance Returns To NYC School After Parents Complain Daughter Has No Idea What It Is

Now, thankfully, I know for certain that my children do say The Pledge of Allegiance every morning at their school. However, to know that it has become common and acceptable to not say The Pledge of Allegiance every day saddens me greatly! To know that there are children today who have no clue what The Pledge of Allegiance is not only saddens me, but angers me as well!

As I sit here reminiscing about my childhood, I remember going outside to play, riding my bike around the neighborhood, going over to my friend’s house to play or them coming to my house to play. Things are just not the same in today’s society. The America we live in today is so drastically different! In today’s America, though my family lives in a gated community, there is absolutely no way I would allow my children to be out in the front playing without my supervision as we did when we were kids. I do see kids out playing with no adults around, but there is no way I would allow my children to freely roam the neighborhood- even in our gated community- where the crime rate is relatively low compared to many other areas. This is not the America I knew and love. Times are just too different from when I grew up!

Some will say that because of modern conveniences, our children have no idea how good they have it. In one sense, maybe this is the case. However, for me, I see it the opposite way. I believe that because of the modern conveniences our children have no idea how good it used to be!

When I was a child people could actually escape the “rat race” of life. Since there were no cell phones, if you were having a relaxing day with the family away from home, you could not be reached. Now, family outings are regularly interrupted by the chirping of a cell phone- or in many cases- several cell phones! We wonder how we ever made it without these “luxuries”, yet I look back fondly on these times. This is the America I knew and love!  Yes, it does make life “easier” to be able to contact someone at the touch of a button no matter where you are at. But what have we have sacrificed to have that convenience?

This generation has the sum of human knowledge at their fingertips with the internet. They have access to anything their hearts desire. But at what expense do they have these things? The accepted definition of a “family” has been so distorted that it really means nothing to so many these days. Or, if it does mean something it is a negative definition rather than a positive, loving definition in their life.

Because this generation has life “so much easier” with modern technology, the very sad thing is that in reality their lives have become so much harder because they do not know the true meaning of sacrifice. They do not know the true meaning of saving up for something that they want. The majority of today’s kids see something they want and it is theirs. We have sacrificed our children in the process of trying to make life easier for them.

Life is not easy. We learn life’s lessons through the rough times. If all of life was a breeze and beautiful and happy how are we to ever grow?

Our children’s generation- the kids of today- are overwhelming spoiled and rude. Does this mean there is no hope for us or that I do not see many kids with positive things going for them in their lives? No, not at all!  What I do find sad, however, is how often my children are complimented on how very well behaved they are. I am sure you are wondering why this would make me sad. Most parents would be extremely happy that the good behavior of their children is noticed. Yes… I am very proud of my children! While they are by no means perfectly behaved, they do know that they have expectations of how they should act- both in public, and at home. If they do not abide by the boundaries set for them, there are consequences.  But what makes me sad about the fact that my children are so often complimented on their good behavior is that this is no longer considered “normal”. For me, this is just what was expected of me as a child. Did I always obey my rules and boundaries? Absolutely not! But when I disobeyed I knew there would be consequences! This was the way it was for almost everyone I knew.  This is the America I knew and love. Too often in today’s society children have no consequences for their bad behavior. We are teaching them that bad behavior is rewarded. And we wonder why this nation is in the condition it is in? Teaching starts in the home. Unlike what Hillary Clinton’s book touts, it does not take a village to raise a child! It takes loving, involved, disciplined parents! Yes, many other people are involved, but it does not take an entire village to raise that child. That is the responsibility of the parents alone. Now, so many people expect that the government is going to take care of their children. So they do see that it takes the village to raise their children. The government is their village.

It makes me wonder how, with all of the modern medical knowledge and psychological knowledge and advances that have been made, why are we so backwards in our thinking? Why have we not corrected this wrong way of viewing things? But rather than correcting things we tend to be going to the more extreme as a nation. We do not want to hurt the little feelings of a child, so we give everyone who signs up for an activity a trophy whether they participated or not. If you notice I did not say anything about the winners and losers getting a trophy. We have now moved past that. If the kids name is on the list they have to be included in awards so they feel good about themselves!

We are not supposed to tell our children no when they want something because that will also hurt their feelings! And what in the world would we ever do with children who are not happy about something? I mean, come on! They might throw a temper tantrum or something!

So our children now grow up thinking that anything they want they can have and everyone is rewarded no matter how hard they try.

That makes me so very sad. I can’t complain about how hard life was for me, because in the hands of God, those hard times helped to make me the woman I am today. I can only pray that my husband and I are able to raise our children with enough of the view of the America we knew and love rather than what America is becoming.

Too often we do not realize the truth in the cliché, “What does not kill me makes me stronger.” While this is a cliché it is so very true. Our adversities are what teach us. Our hard times teach us to be thankful for the good times in our life. Doing without and sacrificing makes us appreciate the many blessings we have in our life. And even for those who have fallen on hard times, we all have blessings we can be thankful for! There is always someone out there who has it harder than we do.

My kids have no idea of the America I grew up in. They have no idea of the America I knew and love. Though I teach them to have pride in their country, that we, as a nation are exceptionally blessed, the attitude of the America they grow up in today is vastly different than the America I grew up in. So many people take for granted the freedoms we are afforded here every day. Yes, it is very true that our freedoms are being eroded away. However, we are still offered opportunities in this country that are not offered anywhere else in the world. My heart aches, not only for the complacency of our nation today, but also for the disdain that so many people have for this beautifully blessed nation. My question for these people who have such disdain for America is this: If you despise her so much, why are you still here? There are many other countries around the world where you can live under socialism or any other form of government you choose.

The reality is those who despise her have no idea what they are doing. They have the freedom to disagree with the government of this nation or people with opposing views. In many other countries you would be killed for much less!

I truly miss the America I grew up in! Until my dying breath I will cling bitterly to my sweet memories of days gone by. I will teach my children to love this country, imperfect as she is! Maybe one day the America I remember and love will be restored once again! I can assure you… I will do ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING IN MY POWER to make that happen-so help me God!

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