I suppose there has always been someone complaining that society is on a downward path, but two things struck me in the past few days — neither of which was new, just reinforced:
First, I heard an interview with Martha Stewart in which she was talking about how she loved and made the most of modern technology — you know, the ipads and iphones and such. But when queried, she admitted she has some reservations too.
She told how she was at a restaurant and at one table a family was supposedly celebrating the grandmother’s birthday. But the kids were all tied up on their phones with games or texting or whatever, as were the parents. Everyone was doing their own thing. No live human interaction at that table. That’s chilling.
And then I just read a comment on a story in the Daily Beast in which the writer opined that the problem or the downside of the feminist movement in the workplace is that once women got equal access in the workplace wages came down and now it takes two incomes to run a household. The writer suggested something needs to be done to make it possible for a household to survive on one 40-hour per week job. I think there is a lot to be said for that, but how we could bring that about is a big question.
A major problem is that people today have no sense of or no ability to be frugal. I had a stay-at-home mom and she knew how to shop, how to cook from scratch, how to save left overs, how to sew, and so on. She did go into the workforce for seasonal work when I was a teenager, and still did all that — a woman’s lot was/is not always an easy one — but neither is a man’s (that is a different story).
(And with respect to my late wife, she was caught in between generations. She lived up to her responsibility as a homemaker, but also felt compelled to enter the workforce once the children were old enough to meet the demands of an economy based on and husband and wife working, and she liked being out there too — there is that — but she felt conflicted between the demands of home and the workplace — she was a family oriented person.)
Another major problem is that a generation and more has been raised to believe that the only way people can survive and indeed live decently is with consumer credit.
Credit may be necessary in business, but for a household it is the root of all evil. No, I don’t imagine we will go back to the old days, although I think the last economic downfall, the crash of 2008, has made many people a little more careful, others not so much.
My advice to young people (at 62 I can give advice):
Learn a trade, pay cash, be free.
About that learning a trade. It is difficult when you start with nothing. But in some places public schools do offer some type of trade training. As a young person I would take advantage of any grants or even military training (although there are pitfalls in that) to get trade training. And I am not limiting my definition of “trade” to the manual trades, but actual skills are what employers look for generally and they command the higher wages. Families have the responsibility of seeing that their young people get off on the right foot. Society is better off when families live up to their responsibilities.
And hoping that I have not gone off on a tangent here, it would be helpful if the government did not encourage the making of families or the producing of children without two responsible adults to raise them.
Enough said for now.
Okay, I have to add that there will be women who do not want to be typecast as the housewife. I certainly do believe in equal rights. But as a society we need to live up to our responsibilities when we produce children. And we do need to produce children, unless we just want our culture to die off.