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Being a Kid in the '60s

a different time and a different place

When people these days talk about their childhoods and school experiences, they often sound very different from my own.  There was much about my school experiences that were quite positive.  Being a school-kid in the '60s was a good foundation for the years that followed.

With the exception of my last year in elementary school, all of the elementary school teachers were on their last year of teaching.  This meant they had solid, old-fashioned ideas, and often backed it up with old-fashioned terminology.  One term some of our teachers used was neighbor;  they used it in the context of "Don't make noise--  your neighbor is doing his work," and "If you need a pencil, ask your neighbor if you can borrow one."  The general idea was your "neighbor" was not only the child sitting next to you, but it extended to a sense of community, and community meant being included, not excluded.

 

Another teacher explained the concept of liberty.  He explained liberty does not mean doing whatever one wishes, but having the freedom to act within the law and consideration for other people.  

 

We were also taught to appreciate what we had.  Mrs. Fish approached us one day and said any students who wanted to participate could put together something she called "Care packages."  Explaining that some children were less fortunate than ourselves, she said each little package should contain a practical item, a fun item, and a coin.  Later that evening I approached my parents and asked them if this was true--  if there really were children in this country who did not have nice things.  My parents replied there were even children who did not have basic necessities.  I found this information very sad, and put together a "Care package" for some child somewhere whom I would never meet.

 

I have found many adults today did not have these solid foundations;  and when they did not, it shows.  Those who did not learn about community, neighbors, liberty, appreciation, and everything else those of us who did took for granted as "the way life is," never learned it at all.  I guess I was lucky to go to school in the '60s--  not only the period of time, but the place.