As you may have expected we are NOT talking about the present day. And it's not getting any better. Increasingly today's kids are being taught on every side to expect and even enjoy being sheltered and controlled. We recently observed as a mom taught her 10 year old son how to pay FOR A FREAKING CANDY BAR with a credit card. Never mind that paying for stuff with plastic can and one day will lead to some entity being able to dictate what you may and may not purchase (among other things). And it is nothing short of dismaying to see an 18 month old kid in a stroller occupying himself not with experiencing the world immediately at hand but rather with A DAMNED SMART PHONE GAME APPLICATION! What this bodes for the future you can easily forecast!
No, we are here talking about the American Midwest in the years between the assassination of President Kennedy and the second Reagan administration. Consider:
The defining cultural event of the era was the advent of the Beatles. This in turn led to a revolution in rock music, with the Rolling Stones doubling down on the Beatles' "rebellious" traits of long hair and "provocative" stage moves. But the tradition of having all members of the band dress alike continued, albeit with increasingly lame (and inspired by older adult managers) "costumes". Paul Revere and the Raiders, for example, and those idiotic "Colonial military" costumes (Which were RED, the color used by the BRITISH!). And the ultimate irony with these "Raiders" was Mark Lindsay (the "cute" Raider) singing a song about how the "Cherokee Nation" had been oppressed by people WEARING THE SAME UNIFORM HE WAS DRESSED IN! And if we were Felix Cavalier, the band leader of what was then called the "Young Rascals", I'd find whatever idiot decided to dress him and his bandmates in those ridiculous "Little Lord Fauntleroy" costumes and force him to walk down the street dressed like that while banging a tambourine against his ass. Eventually this dress-alike crapola faded away, and not a moment too soon.
Even so, a wealth of very good music was made during our youth, and even today fathers and grandfathers find themselves grooving to the old songs along with their sons.
We drove our cars on the then brand new Interstate Highway System, where the speed limits were 75 MPH (making it de facto 80 MPH); and five bucks would buy a tankful of gasoline. From Dayton, Ohio to Indianapolis Indiana in just an hour and small change. And "Muscle cars" were all the rage, souped up Mustangs, GTOs, Bonnevilles, Chargers and Challengers (And older cars such as the venerable 1957 BelAir) participated in illegal street races all over. The police back then carried yardsticks to measure the height of rear bumpers. since so many of them were jacked up to accommodate sudden acceleration.
Overdevelopment had not yet ruined nature, and there were swimming holes in which to skinny-dip in abundance. There was not yet surveillance all over the place, so finding places to "make out" was a snap. We left the house after breakfast in the summer and on weekends. and except for lunch and/or chores we weren't seen again until dusk and dinner.
We were so free back then. Free to learn about life and relationships and other stuff from direct - and sometimes bitter - experience. And if we had problems... Well, we watched Lee Harvey Oswald get gut-shot live via Telestar satellite, and nobody called in hordes of professional "Counselors" for us. We already HAD "counselors". They were called "PARENTS".
But overshadowing everything was the specter of being drafted to fight in Vietnam. And the American Left used Vietnam relentlessly to drive a wedge between us and our American values which helped stabilize all this freedom. Explaining the ensuing cultural chaos which ensued and got us to where we are today would be akin to explaining how a bubble in a boiling pot came to the surface at one point and not another. But we do know this:
In 1969 we saw a man walk on the moon. He arrived there using rockets and spacecraft designed using slide rules and formulas worked out by a German engineer who designed a Nazi war machine; and guided by computing power that is outclassed by one modern "smart phone".
Yet today what do modern teens use these devices which outclass the computing power of NASA in 1969 for? For "Sexting" naked pictures of their own selves to each other, and occasionally being arrested for "distributing child pornography" for doing that; and by law enforcement officials who wind up being prosecuted for kiddie porn offenses themselves; all in the name of protecting the very kids who did the "sexting" in the first place, giving them felony records and a place on some sex-offender registry in the name of protecting them.
"Common sense" and community values used to supply sufficient consequences for aberrant behavior. Today increasingly it is court decisions and an attitude that everything must either be prohibited or mandatory, that there must be a rule for every little thing that rules the roost.
You who are teenagers today should know that we who came of age in the halcyon days we have here written about would not trade our ten worst days for the best years of your whole lives. It's up to you to call bullshit on the crap you are being fed. We doubt you have the capability. And more's the pity.