This morning I was thinking “my chronos is important to my kairos.” The tribe of Issachar, “And of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command.” – 1 Chronicles 12:32 NAS
If I am reduced to nothingness that leaves room for everything!I wrote the following many years ago.
Many years ago, I watched weekly a TV program, It’s About Time.
It’s about time,
It’s about space,
About strange people in the strangest place.
It’s about time,
It’s about flight,
Travelin’ faster than the speed of light.
The last week of sequestering, cities up for grabs and a downtrodden public, reminded me of simpler times. A few years ago, my grandson, Jordan iterated his desire to play MLB. (Major League Baseball) I suggested the need for him to get into training now, rather than “wait and see.” Too many fall victim to the “wait and see” disease. So, I suggested he cross the street to get to the school and run, etc.. My gosh, you would have thought I committed the unpardonable sin. At 10 years old he was concerned about “crossing” because his mom had not let him. (Needless to say my daughter and I had a discussion. She relented.)
I am told the world has changed…
It’s about time
It’s about space
About strange people in the strangest place
They will be here
With all of us
Dodging a taxi, a car, a bus.
This week, my mom would have been 87. What has changed??? It causes me to reflect.
My early years were spent in the “city”. Lots of Levittown type homes bought on VA loans. During the time I was 4-6 years old, we lived on a river in one of these homes. My parents liked the “sprawl” from their earlier apartment. In the back yard, my brothers and I would climb up into the tree house my dad had built in a large willow tree on the banks of the Farm River. A rope swing allowed for Tarzan like moves. One time we took a loaf of bread and climbed up onto the platform. We enticed our neighbor’s ducks under the tree and then “lassoed” them with a length of clothesline, hauling them up into the tree house. We got quite a few of them and hid them in my dad’s garage. We then took off to do something else. (Hey, we were kids!) When fire chief, Mr. T came looking for the ducks my dad did not know what he was talking about. (He had lost much of his hearing in WWII.) BUT Mr. T sure heard them. When they opened the garage door, the ducks setting on his work bench and car. My dad’s 1955 Dodge was a greener shade of blue. And our butts soon were a brighter shade of red!
A few years later they decided to move to the suburbs. I was a child who lived in an area with few people and lots of cows. (As a Vermont gubernatorial candidate once said, “Maple trees and cows…we prefer them.) As I got older (I was probably 8.) my parents bought a membership to a place called “Powers Pond.” Two ponds side by side. One for swimming, equipped with a dock and two slides, this sandy beach area became our favorite “we are not on vacation” place. The second pond was “stocked” with large gold fish and had fun paddle boats. And it was some 6 miles away from our home. Somehow my friends and I talked our parents into letting us ride our bikes there. 2 miles on a country road. Cross a “small” highway and finish the next 4 miles. Park your bike and enjoy the fun. My younger brothers(1 and 2 years less than I.) went with us.
Folks, we played on the river! (Some other time I will tell you about the “raft” we made that took off with my brother. Headed towards Long Island Sound!) We rode our bikes everywhere. And no one would have thought our parents irresponsible. (Oh yeah, we drank out of the hose and streams and lakes…)
As a grandparent I often feel like I am “swimming upstream” when trying to help my grandchildren understand “why” we work, share (I am not talking out forcing them to share-that is socialism! Teach them the value and the benefits of sharing.), etc.. Unfortunately, we are battling a lot of school “say so,” Hollywood and now our government.
I sat there and remembered as I read an article about 6 year olds working. Breaking child labor laws. When I was 6 I mowed a neighbor’s lawn, picked strawberries and corn and walked dogs. Why? I liked money and the sense of accomplishment. By the time I was 8 I had a full lawn mowing route, shoveled driveways, had a 5 day a week after school paper route and learned you can sell seeds, GRIT and a few other things to your neighbors. At some point my dad taught me how to make cutting boards and small wooden pieces and I sold those to my neighbors, as well. (In retrospect, my neighbors probably preferred religious visits by those in dark suits and pocket badges.) When I was 10 a nice old man, Micky agreed to let me pump gas after school and on weekends. And when I was all done with “work” we had chores. (I was in a hurry to grow up just to avoid the chores!) I was able to enjoy my money on vacations and soon to be able to go to a camp (Keewaydin) because the money was there. I guess I have “always” worked.
My grandparents and parents remembered the Great Depression of 1929 (Not the”Forgotten Depression of 1920.*) and they lived “tight to the wire.” They also knew there was a value to being “tough”. And capitalism was NOT a bad word.
As I spend time with my grandchildren, I am more than aware of the many safety precautions that must be taken in a raising a child in the twenty first century. Locks on all the cabinets in the kitchen, safety cribs to prevent the child from rolling onto the floor, those odd looking plastic things that go into each of the outlet covers, rear facing car seats for newborns, then front facing car seats for toddlers, then on to booster seats for four year olds, baby monitors, and I’m only getting started. The real deal comes once the child begins school!
It is very clear that ours is a culture obsessed with keeping our children safe- which is a very good thing. No parent wants their child to play in an electrical outlet or get injured in a car accident needlessly. Technology has indeed provided many useful tools in preventing tragedies and for that I’m eternally grateful. However, as I take a step back for a moment, and view our culture in its proper context I can’t help but fear that we just might be going overboard in bubble wrapping our society. I’m beginning to fear that in an effort to shield our children from the typical pains that have accompanied childhood for over a millennium- scraped knee caps, hard work, and the heartaches that accompany rejection we have in turn raised a generation of children who were never allowed to grow up and become men.
Evidence of this can be spotted just about everywhere, one only must open their eyes. For me it is most noticeable in an upcoming generation of guys who have now found themselves in stall somewhere in their mid-twenties- while their parents were at their age working to support their family, their greatest challenge is finding a better hiding place on WII’s Modern Warfare.
I am looking for answers. Answers that will allow my neighbors to get their jobs back and their businesses profitable. It will not come by pretending all is well.
Where will they go
What will they do
In this strange place where everything is new.
Will they manage to survive
Watch each week and see.
Will they get accustomed to the Twentieth Century.
It’s About Time
It’s About Time
It’s About Time
It’s About Time!
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!” Dr.Seuss
*And no wonder this historical experience deflates the ambitions of those who promise us political solutions to the real imbalances at the heart of economic busts. Conventional wisdom holds that in the absence of government countercyclical policy, whether fiscal or monetary (or both), we cannot expect economic recovery at least, not without an intolerably long delay. Yet the very opposite policies were followed during the depression of 1920–1921, and recovery was in fact not long in coming.
The economic situation in 1920 was grim. By that year unemployment had jumped from 4 percent to nearly 12 percent, and GNP declined 17 percent. No wonder, then, that Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover falsely characterized as a supporter of laissez-faire economics urged President Harding to consider an array of interventions to turn the economy around. Hoover was ignored.
Instead of “fiscal stimulus,” Harding cut the government’s budget nearly in half between 1920 and 1922. The rest of Harding’s approach was equally laissez-faire. Tax rates were slashed for all income groups. The national debt was reduced by one-third.
The Federal Reserve’s activity, moreover, was hardly noticeable. As one economic historian puts it, “Despite the severity of the contraction, the Fed did not move to use its powers to turn the money supply around and fight the contraction.” By the late summer of 1921, signs of recovery were already visible. The following year, unemployment was back down to 6.7 percent and it was only 2.4 percent by 1923.
I love history and I love people. I want our history to reflect my love for others.