Kim Hudson: What were parents thinking?

Do you ever stop and think about some of the decisions your parents made raising you and ask, “What were they thinking?”

That is not meant as a criticism but merely an observation of how times have changed.

Consider some of the things we are hyper-vigilant about today that our parents did not even remotely worry about.

Think for a minute how you traveled in a car as a child. Depending on your age of course, seat belts were not required. It wasn’t until 1984 that New York passed the first state law requiring occupants to wear seat belts.

That means kids were crawling all over each other in the back of the station wagon. Can you picture it?

And what about sunscreen? We wore it but only when spending an entire day at the beach. Otherwise, we didn’t even think about it.

Skin cancer was not on our parents’ radar. The damaging effects of the sun were not widely known and we went from a society that was always careful in the sun to one that coveted a savage tan no matter what skin type you had.

Anyone remember using baby oil at the beach?  All I can say is “ouch”.

Many of our parents smoked. They were not aware of the health risks associated with cigarettes as we are today. Second hand smoke was not even a concept. So babies were around smoke all the time and no one gave it a second thought.

I wonder what our kids will shake their heads about when they are our age.

What parenting decisions will make them ask, “What were they thinking?”

Could it be the legalization of marijuana? For many it seems to be a simple solution to an overburdened court system. Some 20 or 30 years from now, I wonder what the impact this decision will have on our children and their children. Are we opening up a can of worms here or creating a society with a work ethic of Cheech and Chong?

Or, maybe, we will go down in history as the generation of parents who let technology raise their children.

As the next generation moves into adulthood I wonder what the consequences will be of the lack of social interaction and their dependence on technology and social media. As I said last week I know firsthand the effects of information overload on me, but what is it doing to our kids?

I think, though, without a doubt, our kids will be questioning our decisions regarding food. I think they will look back and see the insanity of going from homegrown, farm raised, healthy choices to pre-packaged, manufactured, chemically enhanced choices and will literally think we had lost our minds.

At least I hope that’s what happens – sooner rather than later.

So we shouldn’t shake our heads too much at the things our parents did. No doubt in a few short years our children will be shaking their heads at us even harder.

Contact Kim Hudson at tkhudson@comcast.net.

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