Family Milestones, Closing the Generation Gap, and Other Ramblings

Congratulations to Pamela and her daughter for successfully reaching an important family milestone. It’s no secret that family life is complicated, frustrating and difficult (and wonderful). To bring up a child through high school, or be that child, and have parent and child still on speaking terms at the end is no small achievement for both. Mother and daughter looking at colleges together – this is good.

Brings back memories of when I when I started college. When I graduated high school we had this much media-touted phenomenon called the Generation Gap. I guess both generations believed in it. Things have changed and, believe me, I’m not “crying in my beer” about this, just pointing out what I hope is a positive social trend in America over the past 30-years – parents being more involved.

My dad grew up in the Great Depression, was a WWII vet, and member of the Greatest Generation. When I was little, I remember him coming home from work, sitting down to dinner in a shirt and tie and, when he’d finished eating and smoking, he’d snuff out his cigaret butt in a little heap of leftover mashed potatoes and move to his chair in the living room to read the paper the rest of the evening. That’s the way it was. I had no reason to believe life should be otherwise and I didn’t worry abut it. By the way, I loved my dad and miss him. He was a very honest and unpretentious guy. He was raised by fastidious British immigrants, which is another story.

As a kid I played baseball in the summer in the city rec league, like millions of other kids. I recall the one time dad came to watch a game. He sat in the car, not the bleachers. Other kids on the team had fathers who were more involved and, mostly, they were Mexicans. A lot of my team mates worked with their dads in the farm fields and travelled all over the country together. Their skin looked as tough as our baseball gloves. I had team mates named Moses and Jesus – not names used by white midwestern Americans. Their dads jumped up when our manager needed somebody to volunteer as first and third base coach. They made a lot of noise at the crack of the bat. “Moses, RRRRRRRRRRRRRun!”

Yesterday, at my son’s soccer game, my wife and I stood on the sidelines and voiced our encouragement to all the kids, but mostly for our son. We made a lot of noise, I suppose. At one point, an official asked my wife to “back off a bit.” He probably thought we sounded like a couple of Mexicans. The kids seemed to have fun.

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One Response to Family Milestones, Closing the Generation Gap, and Other Ramblings

  1. Thanks John. We’ve got some big choices in the next few weeks, but exciting. Lucky kid got accepted to the 3 coastal UC’s, so which ever she chooses, she’ll be enjoying the beach when she has time! She’s already picked her major – anthropology and has been taking classes at community college, so she has a jump on it.

    Your dad reminded me of mine. My parents were also children of the depression. My passion was art when I was in school. My dad grumbled about artists not making money. I had no support for my passion from him, but I learned the importance of hard work and perseverence. Both of my parents instilled the love of nature. I miss them both and know they would be proud of my daughter.

    When my daughter was in jazz band I was the loudest voice among the parents cheering on their kids. I think there will always be a generation gap, but it’s shrunk some since I was a kid.