It's True Times Are Changing

By Jay Goodman

          We hear this a lot through our lives that “times are changing. But I hear it now more so than I ever heard it in my life. And it is true times are changing.” The sad thing is it’s not changing for the better. I look at my grandfather’s generation, and then at my mother and father’s and realize in a lot of ways they had it made. Of course, we have more toys such as cell phones, computers, and other modern things that make life easier, but somewhere along the way we lost something much greater value.

          In today’s times it seems like people have forgotten the value of family, friends, school and God. Too many people today are in a hurry, they are busy from the moment they wake up until they go to sleep. And why do we have to work, it’s also important that we not lose touch with what’s most important in our lives. When I heard someone say times are changing a few years ago, I really seemed to agree with him. Which made me contemplate what I thought was different from my grandparent’s day, to my parents, two my time. I also started thinking about why things changed, and why I thought it was getting worse.

          First, I looked at my grandfather’s era, I thought about his generation and what made him different from my parents to mine. I thought of the stories he told me, his father, my great grandfather lived off the land. Almost everyone back then were farmers, so they were at the house all day, sons were standing in working beside their fathers all day had once given sons vital knowledge and awareness, a special type of male nourishment. Just think about this for a moment, in my grandfather’s day, he was exposed to his dad from the minute he woke up in the morning, until he went to sleep at night. He would go outside before the sun came up, and would help his dad the entire day. My grandfather told me, by the time he was 10 years old, he knew how to hunt, fish, and take care of a farm. He also told me, his grandparents were a big part of his upbringing, his grandfather would spend time with him every day schooling him on life. Also, everyone had to go to church every week. He said, “going to church was not an option.” He told me, that “everyone in his family had to be present for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and before anyone could start eating a whole family had to join hands and pray.” His mom and dad both would teach him and his brother and sister about God, and the importance of family. The local priest was a big part of the upbringing of all the children back then. He told me that the priest was invited to eat dinner with them at least once or twice a month, and before they eat the priest would spend an hour or so teaching them about the Bible.

          Another big thing in his day was the local community. Let’s say someone’s house or barn caught fire, all of the people who lived in the area would show up to help whoever lost their house and help them rebuild their home. They would also help them with food or whatever else they might need.

          By the time my dad was born there was a new era beginning. The industry age. Now that fathers are going to a workplace outside the home, the average American father was spending all the a few hours a day with his son. Now though when sons and fathers interact only at the end of the workday, a son is exposed only to his father’s temperament which is shaped by stress at work, humiliation from his boss, and competition with other men, and not his teachings. Modern man we’re grieving that loss but didn’t have a language or form for talking about it. Men we’re not only grieving the loss of their father’s knowledge but Also the loss of our own Neil initiators, the older wise men who wants guided a boy into manhood. I remember my dad telling me, “something has to die for a man to be born.” When I asked him what that something was? My dad said, “what has to die is the boy, but that doesn’t happen anymore in our culture.” Without formal initiation rituals, he said, “contemporary men were being left in a state of eternal childhood, like modern-day Peter Pan’s.” Then my dad said something else that at the time I didn’t think nothing of it, but as I contemplate it later in my life it began to make a lot of sense to me. He said “that as a son starts to grow in to his teens that the natural tension between fathers and sons makes a father a poor choice for initiating their sons into manhood. This should be the job of tribal elders, he said, family friends’ uncles, grandfathers.” As I thought about this it began to make a lot of sense to me. I thought of the man who helped and guided me along my way, and realized my dad was right. Because most teenage boys go through a rebellious stage, so to have another male figure around to help guide them I’m sure would make a big impact on their lives.

          As I looked back on my teenage years, I remembered how my grandfather was a big part of these years. Now by the time I was born in 1964, the industry age was in its prime. Every major city across the United States were full of factories. Dads were usually gone for most of the day, so a son being raised to live off the land were long gone.

          I was lucky in a lot of ways because my grandfather always lived with us. And he would plan a good size garden every year, plus my dad would take me fishing often and both of them would teach me about guns and how to shoot. But all of the new generation of children growing up now especially the ones in the inner city, had no idea how to live off the land, hunt or fish. Plus, they were lucky to spend a few hours over the weekend with her dad. So young boys were being raised by their mom, and whatever they watched on TV. Another thing that Started to happen was that young boys were starting to get heavier. In my grandfather days and my dad’s generation it wasn’t common to see a young boy or a teenager overweight. But now that no one was there to guide these young boys, they started becoming the first generation of couch potatoes.

          Since dad’s were gone all day, and not many men lived off the land. Young boys started spending hours a day sitting in front of the TV. And this was the beginning of a new generation of overweight kids. By the late 60s something else hit the United States like an atomic bomb. Drugs. Young teenagers across America we’re starting to try different types of drugs, when in the past most people just drank, and drugs are only seen in certain cities such as New York City, Chicago, LA, and a few others in the US. But now drugs we’re starting to show up in small towns. Colleges across our country we’re flooded with drugs, now of course that hippies came along and they believed in sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. Since they thought that using drugs and having sex with every woman who came along, a lot of children were being born without the woman knowing who the father was. So, this started another big shift in the new generation of young boys being raised without any father at all in their lives. Now these kids had no type of male structure in their lives, naturally their mothers were working, so they had no one at home when they came home from school. I can look back on my grandfather and dad, and I remember how they could do anything. The man from their generation were known as men’s men. I remember watching these two men when I was younger and it seem like they would do anything and everything. And truth be said it was true they both were raised to be tough. They both pride themselves on being a man. They pride themselves on taking care of their family. They not only took care of their wives and children, but they took care of their parents as they grew older. No one from their generation put their elderly parents in a nursing home, they would move them into their home and take care of them until they died. As I said at the beginning of this chapter, why we do have a lot of things in today’s times that my parents and grandparents didn’t have.

          Somewhere along the way we lost something of much greater value. And in my next chapter I’m going to talk about what that something is, and why I believe it’s one of the reasons prisons are full across the country.

The Attorneys
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez