As it is, I notice my surroundings. This Sunday I saw a young family go past me: the wife guiding a (preschooler, I think) and a slightly older child, the husband - a tall fellow - carrying their baby. A little later, I saw another man carrying a baby who could be either his son or grandson.Happy Days" on television.
It's that sitcom set in a practically-perfect version of middle-class America in the fifties. If the show's not being rerun on cable here in America at the moment, my guess is that it soon will be. Again.
The point is that some folks seem to remember the 'good old days' of the fifties as if it really were the wonderful world of the Fonz, the Cunningham family, and Arnold's.
I indulge in a little nostalgia now and then: but I don't make a habit of it. I remember the fifties: I've got a pretty good memory. And I've done a bit of research on the period.
Happy Days it wasn't.
Like men not touching their babies in public.
These days it's not at all uncommon for the mens' restroom in my part of America to have a diaper changing table on the wall. Good thing, too, since sometimes the kid has got to be changed and: well, you get the point.
Remember that young man I saw carrying his baby in church? That's not unusual today, either. And hasn't been for decades. Back in the 'good old days' of the fifties - at least in the part of America where I lived - a man was about as likely to wear a grass skirt, as to be seen holding a baby in public.
'Real men' didn't do that sort of thing. If they were 'good, decent Americans,' they dedicated their lives to their job, and wouldn't be caught dead being seen holding a baby or changing a diaper.
Yes, those were the 'regular guys' back then. There were some advantages to living that way. If they were good at what they did, quite a few of those men made quite a lot of money. Being white and a WWII veteran helped. And that's another topic.
I don't know what today's 'experts' have to say on the subject, but I suspect that AWOL fathers may have contributed to 'those crazy kids' deciding that they'd had enough of materialism, in the sixties. Yet another topic.
They started being seen in public with their kids. Some of them even held their babies or pushed the stroller!!!
It was the end of civilization as we knew it.
About time, too, in my opinion.
I'd read the Bible. And hadn't seen anything about women having to freeze their legs in order to maintain a dress code from ca. 1940s/1950s America. (September 26, 2009)
I'm getting off-topic, but not by much.
A generalization? Yes. Somewhat accurate? I think so.
The sixties weren't 'the best of times' either. I was there - and am all too aware of problems which became obvious then.
There was a lot of change going on in American culture. Some of it was bad.
But men - some of us, anyway - becoming more involved with our families? Being willing to hold the baby or push the stroller? And not being ostracized for such 'unmanly' behavior? That, I think, was a good thing.
Not all change is bad.
- "Unity, Diversity, and Being Catholic"
(August 26, 2010)
- "Rambling on About Marriage, More or Less"
(August 13, 2010)
- "Home Schooling, Religious and Moral Instruction, and American Culture"
(March 6, 2010)
- "The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph"
(December 27, 2009)
- Guest post by Deacon Lawrence Kaas
- "Are You a Boy, or Are You a Girl?"
(September 26, 2009)