My granddaughter was born yesterday. Seven pounds and seven
ounces of precious life. It was an exciting event and a dozen of us
paced the hospital waiting room in wait. As much as I longed to see
that baby, I first wanted to see my daughter to be sure she was ok.
I was able to go to the recovery room once she was settled. I
hugged her, kissed her, congratulated her and wept. Then her dad
came in to do the same.
I already have a grandson who is two and a half. I watch in
amazement as my child raises her child - I find it very rewarding
that she uses some of the same principles with which she was
raised. He already understands the concept of "please" and "thank
you." His daddy's Southern traditions are also fortified as he is
now learning to say "Yes, Ma'am" and "No, Sir."
Many parents today utilize modern child-rearing techniques - and
I use the term loosely. Discipline is viewed as a negative impact
on self-esteem. Really? And the extremes of "protecting" the child
include complete non-exposure to germs. Ummm, so how do they build
up any antibodies? When my granddaughter was introduced to us at
the tender age of one hour, we all washed our hands thoroughly and
didn't get too close to her face. But no one was asked to don a
mask or be properly sterilized before entering the room.
How did we survive our own Boomer childhoods? The only times I
recall seeing a doctor were once a year right before school
started. I believe the school required confirmation of an annual
physical and immunizations. I remember having chicken pox and the
mumps, and we think I had German measles based on the diagnosis of
our neighbor who had five children of her own. My mother gave me a
chewable vitamin each morning that tasted orange and if I
complained of feeling sick, I got one St. Joseph's Aspirin for
Play time, as I look back now, was probably an accident waiting
to happen. But somehow it rarely did. We all rode our bicycles sans
helmets and we rode them in the street. You watched over your
should for cars and rode up someone's driveway if a one approached.
Hopscotch, stick ball, kick ball and dodge ball were also all
played in the street. Again, if a vehicle turned onto the street,
someone would yell "car" and we parted like the sea for Moses until
Of course there was the occasional injury that usually
manifested as a skinned knee, a finger cut, a scrape from a thorny
rose bush or a stubbed toe. These resulted from too much
rough-housing and were said to be a punishment from God for not
paying better attention to what we were doing. The antidote was
always the same - a band-aid. Some injuries were more severe than
others, but mom simply did triage and then chose the properly-sized
band-aid. No home on the block was ever without a box of band-aids
in the medicine cabinet. If there was fear the injury could become
infected, it was tinged with Mercurochrome prior to the application
of the band-aid.
We Boomers, for the most part, grew up unscathed by childhood
injuries and germs. We learned to shake it off and be tough. A kiss
and hug made most pain subside. The bonus plan was a band-aid
sporting the replica of a super hero or cartoon character such as
Superman or Yogi Bear. If one kid on the block came down with
chicken pox, the mothers sent all the other kids to play and be
exposed so it would pass quickly through the neighborhood. The only
time I remember being sequestered was if I got a cold. So long as I
was sneezing, I was contagious and kept inside. I hated not being
able to play, but it did usually elicit a big pot of homemade
chicken soup which made it easier to bear. Ginger Ale was
administered for a stomach ailment.
Today's medicine cabinets are stocked with antibiotics,
sanitizers, vitamins, antiseptics, several kinds of pain relievers,
cough medicines, decongestants, and myriad prescription bottles. An
injury drawing blood often results in a trip to the emergency room
or urgent care clinic. Kids learn quickly that an injury of any
magnitude might attract an overabundance of attention and sometimes
even a new toy as a reward for being a big boy or a big girl.
On Christmas morning, we all sat in front of the tree watching
my grandson find the gifts left by Santa. In his excitement, he
took a little tumble and his bottom hit a rigid piece of plastic.
We all knew it smarted and he started to fuss. Without missing a
beat, both his parents told him to "shake it off." Within seconds,
he was back to his toys - crisis averted. Looks like we raised them
right. Now if we could still buy Mercurochrome we'd be all