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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

70’s Wrap Up

Bullying is a hot topic at the home and school meetings. My grandson talks about a bully in school and as a counselor in the 70’s I had to try and see that bullies were thwarted. A tall skinny kid with a big mouth, I got my butt kicked more than once in the 60’s. There were days I was so anxious about going to school that I literally made myself sick. Luckily I finally bulked up while working in the steel mill and dealt out a few paybacks, petty but enormously satisfying.

The 70’s found me much bulkier, more confident and less likely to be bullied. Teaching elementary school in Appalachia, I found myself hypersensitive to bullying and inordinately robust in curbing any I found. Of course when you had the occasional 16 year old 6th grader, the potential for bullying was rather high. Cyber-bullying has become the equal opportunity method of bullying. Girls used to be less impacted by bullying and with cyber-bullying they have become a primary target.

Work place bullying is another issue. Again, equal opportunity seems to be the rule. Both sexes seem to have the random screamer who wants to dominate the work place with heavy handed tactics. In the 70’s, if recollection serves me, there was less tolerance for bullying because you didn’t really need a cause to get fired, you just got fired. The knowledge that you could lose your livelihood apparently deterred a certain amount of bullying. Besides relatively random hazing, I have little recollection of general bullying in the mills I worked in through college. Of course in the 70’s when there was interpersonal conflict it was normally solved with fists as opposed to today where every other idiot who feels downtrodden grabs a gun and opens up on a school.

Life often seems so simple looking back and so complicated while living it. Life is tumultuous now and was tumultuous then. We survived the $64,000.00 question and we will survive American Idol. My parents survived the depression, raised a family, taught us how to work and I did the same. My kids are hard workers and raising good kids too. Recession, election, war, drugs, sex, depression all have been here before and will be here again.

Live your life! Don’t pine for the good old days, don’t whine about the present and don’t worry about the future. Live your life as best you can, the 70’s were interesting, the new century is just as interesting. Don’t wallow in nostalgia; create tomorrow’s nostalgia by today’s actions.

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