My generation tends to forget that our lives weren’t perfect. I think we paint a picture of perfection of the past – Norman Rockwell’s view of American life as it should be. We try to hide the bad stuff and look only at the things that made our age great.
I never thought I was pretty enough, smart enough or perfect enough. I was unsure about my future. I struggled with the idea of going to church, because I knew there were hypocrites there. I was teased for being chubby. I was convinced that God was a fierce judge who was going to sentence me to an eternity in hell. I got depressed over small things and panicked when it came to the big stuff.
In my lifetime our country has been involved in a number of wars. Weekly air raid drills were the norm. We’d be ushered to the basement of our schools and told to sit with our hands over our heads until the teacher gave us the all clear. Families built bomb shelters. We were exposed to a new kind of entertainment that opened all kinds of doors. It came in the form of a huge piece of furniture with a tiny glass picture tube. As girls, we could hope for a career as a secretary, a teacher or a nurse. A four year college degree guaranteed a high paying job.
Segregation was a huge problem. Cigarettes were a kind of status symbol. Everyone smoked – even the news anchors as they reported the news each night. We didn’t hear about scandals in government, but they were there. We didn’t have to lock our doors every time we left the house, but that doesn’t mean that crime didn’t exist. We just didn’t hear about it like we do today. Bullying isn’t a new problem, but now with social media, the options are unlimited.
It’s important to let children know they have value without putting them on a pedestal. We need to let them know they’re loved, not only by us, but by God who looks beyond their imperfections. Most of all, we need to pray for them every day. We can raise them, but God gives purpose to their lives.