Is “Adult” Really Just Another Word for XXX?

29 Sep

Adults and Responsibilities

When I was a child way back in the late 1950s and 60s I remember being aware of a distinct difference between the adult world and the world of the child. We kids were always running around and playing or falling down and getting hurt or doing the wrong things and getting into trouble or having to sit still and behave or being made to take showers and baths and go to school and church etc., and adults were not.

 Adults were always in charge and they always seemed to be on the same page in just about everything they did. One adult was pretty much like the other. If you went to a friend’s house to play and you met your friend’s parents it was like meeting your own parents… All over again! They said the same things, had the same rules, wore the same clothes and did the same things. We never saw them running or jumping or playing or falling or getting into trouble… or anything for that matter! They lived in another dimension: The adult zone. They lived in other rooms that we couldn’t go in and seemed to disappear only to reappear when we did something wrong or had to go somewhere we didn’t want to go or wash something we didn’t want to wash.

It was weird and kind of creepy but it was the adult world and it was a place where we were all heading and would find ourselves someday and had to get ready for because someday we would be adults and have to live where they lived…in the adult world!

Kids played with other kids and adults never showed any interest in participating with us and it was pretty hard to even get them involved if we wanted to.

“Hey dad! We were thinking about going to the store!” hoping that maybe my dad would take the hint and offer us a ride. “Yeah? He’d always say, How ya gonna get there?” That was always the end of any conversation with my dad. “How ya gonna get there?” We couldn’t drive. We were just kids! Parents back in those days would always know just how to cut to the chase. We were just kids and we couldn’t get anywhere and we didn’t have any money so we went to school, did our own things and minded our own kid business and waited until we could become adults.

But today those divisions between the kid and the adult world have been all but obliterated. Adults today won’t leave kids alone! And instead of kids trying to grow up and become adults it’s the adults who are trying to behave more like kids. Now it’s the adults who are involved in all of the running and the jumping and the falling and the misbehaving and the partying and the troublemaking too. Who’s providing that stable adult world environment for the kids to aspire to? Some adults are, for sure, but not enough anymore to provide that iconic adult realm that kids would look expectantly forward to where they knew their lives would someday be filled with stability and sameness and calming boredom.

Today’s world is a free-for-all where it seems everyone is careening towards the same age. Mom’s on Facebook! Dad’s on the internet pretending to be a teenage girl! Your daughter has breasts at 9 years old and is hoping to someday become a successful pole dancing stripper like that grown up old lady, Miley Cyrus who she saw on video! (And she’s already practicing her primping, prancing and teasing in Advanced, Junior, Midget. Pee Wee Cheerleading!)  Your 10 year old son is already a veteran of World War III…in Cyberspace! Wherever that is! Experienced teachers are dating 5th graders while inexperienced 5th graders instruct adults on Television!

Where are the grown ups? Who’s minding the store? Has the golden age of television replaced the classics as a reference source for the civilized world? Will this unstoppable new virus called modern technology turn us all into same-age juvenile delinquents? Because everywhere we look now-a-days we can see and hear adults bemoaning, “They have to have it! We have to buy it! I don’t see how we can live without it no matter how much it costs! How can we keep them from going there and doing that and behaving like this and eating that and buying what they want…” How can we control them? We can’t control ourselves?!

Parents used to do it. I remember when. I was there. I’m not sure how they did it but I’m pretty sure it had to do with growing up and maintaining self control and taking on responsibility and well, acting like an adult and taking charge. I do know however, that we can’t go back to that time in the past or make the world be like it was then, nor should we want to. But parents had something back then that is lacking in many parents today. Even now I can still hear what my dad’s solution would be…

“Hey dad! We want to go to the internet!”

“Great! How ya gonna get there?!”

Back then parents were adults and ADULTS OWNED EVERYTHING, including access. Adult’s don’t own crap now-a-days and access is everywhere and access has become excess and it’s triple x all day long 24hrs a day.  One of the lessons that we need to learn or perhaps re-learn is that ownership, in the sense of taking responsibility for our actions and owning up to what our responsibilities are toward each other and our children, is everything and the public, us, everyone, must own the public schools together.

 

9 Responses to “Is “Adult” Really Just Another Word for XXX?”

  1. David September 29, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    today you’re sounding suspiciously like someone old……..and that’s NOT you. Don’t you think when we were young (particularly when music changed from being mostly purchased by parents to being purchased by their children [1950’s rock and roll], our parents felt the same way about us?

  2. momshieb September 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    From the perspective of a parent with grown children, as well as my perspective as a fifth grade public school teacher, I agree with a lot of what you say! What I see is that parents now have a belief that they have to be at the kids’ beck and call, and have to do everything for them. Kids aren’t allowed to be independent, or to figure things out for themselves, or to struggle a little.

  3. elizjamison September 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Hey,

    I am really enjoying your posts! They are all great, all long, all detailed, etc. But how do you have time to write so many? 🙂

    Elizabeth

    Sent from my iPad

    • gpicone September 30, 2012 at 2:48 am #

      Hi! And thanks so much for your comments and for reading my blog. Many of my blogs are from a book that I have been writing since my retirement. My children suggested that I start blogging to get feedback and to see what people think…so here I am!

  4. m lewis redford September 29, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    excellent excursion; having (these days) rather than owning (latterdays), means consuming rather than being; and moreso, defining our identity by what we HAVE so much that we don’t really BE anymore …

  5. 7feetnorth September 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    I completely agree with you! You have adults acting like kids and at the same time not allowing their kids any independence. I’ve heard of parents who accompany their kids on job interviews!! Children now days are not going to be able to function as adults if their parents do not model it for them and also allow them to grow up.

  6. camparigirl October 4, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Ok, maybe you do sound old but you have a point. I am not far behind you, I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s (in Italy) and I do remember being left to my own, and my friends’ devices, a whole lot more than my step-kids have. What I mean is that I always felt I inhabited a world of my own, where parents had no place and yes, did intrude every time I was called for dinner or asked to go on an errand. Most of my time wasn’t scheduled, leaving room for my mind to wander, for my friends and I to create games, to let our imagination run wild. In retrospect, of course my mother was there, in the shadows, making sure I would not get in any danger but her presence was unobtrusive. And I am forever grateful for those long afternoons in which I was left alone. Little did I know I would come to miss them!

  7. elroyjones October 6, 2012 at 2:13 am #

    I remember when the grown-ups had adult conversations that we were not privy to. You did not question your parents because they always had the same answer to the question, “Because I said so.” We were happy kids because we had boundaries and boundaries made us feel safe so we were happy.

  8. livvy1234 October 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    I really enjoyed your point of view. I noticed a few bloggers commented that you might be “old.” What’s wrong with being “old” and suggesting we take a look at bringing some tradition into the present moment in history? I am old. I was so happy to be reminded how free we were way back when – before technology, therapy, and other forms of numbing the mind is supposedly fixing our culture.

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