Friday, 12 February 2010

Inside one Baby Boomer's mind: scary

Eric Roy, a National Party MP sinc3 1993, has gifted the nation with his reflections on "the good old days":
We were raised in an era when our mothers were blissfully unaware of today’s culinary requirements for pregnant mums. They ate blue cheese, processed meat and tuna from cans - and they didn’t get tested for a heap of things that are standard practice today.

They brought us up in houses that weren’t properly insulated, many had asbestos components, our cots were decorated with colourful lead paints. There were no child proof pill bottles, or restraints, we rode our bikes without helmets and shoes. In cars there were no airbags or seat belts - in our case seven of us crammed into a 1953 Vauxhall Velox.

As kids we made our own fun.

We drank water from the garden hose or the creek. We shared soft drink from the same bottle on the odd occasions that we got our hands on it. We played wild games that included shooting each other with bows and arrows and hand grenades made with mud, we fell out of trees. Broke bones and teeth. We ate all the wrong things - real butter, soft drinks - and the only fast food was fish and chips.

But we were not fat. Child obesity was not heard of. We burned it all off playing or working doing old fashioned chores.

How did we survive? It makes you think, doesn’t it?
How about you think about the fact that while those of us living today did survive there were quite a few others who didn't? Tautology is the word that springs to my mind, but I've never studied philosophy so someone who has might be able to supply something better to describe the bizarreness of this attitude from Mr Roy.

The pendulum about cotton-woolling kids seems to be heading back, away from No Tree Climbing and back to Sensible Precautions. We're pretty relaxed with Wriggly ourselves (which does earn some disapproving stares from others sometimes when we are out and about).

But grouping this together with seat belts, child-proof pill bottles and trying to avoid catching illnesses that could cause miscarriage? Surely these are not to be lumped in with throwing hand grenades made of mud, implying that they are all just PC gone mad?


Psycho Milt said...

Always made me stare incredulously in Kuwait - little kids in cars jumping on the back seats, hanging out the windows, standing up out of the sunroof. Yeah, those kids were certainly having a lot more fun than ours, but the fun stopped suddenly and unpleasantly for a sizable number of them. On the whole, I felt sticking with the seat belts was the best bet.

A Nonny Moose said...

We all know that the sneering pronunciation of "Political Correctness" is Conservative-Speak for "I am unwilling to recognize my priviledge, and change myself. The world must change for me."

But ok, we can go back to a time pre-vaccinations, pre-seatbelts, and pre-equal education. We'll just pop up a few stats for ya Mr Roy - funny thing that rising life expectancy bumpf...wonder where that came from?

Trouble said...

I thought baby boomers rolled their eyes at their parents saying they made their own fun.

The rate of child mortality in New Zealand has gone from 28 (presumably per thousand live births) to 6 between 1960 and 2008.

If I've read the data right (and it's a bit hard to tell), that's over 1300 kids born last year who'll make it to their 5th birthday, who wouldn't have made it in 1960. Makes you think, alright.

M said...

How many mothers back then actually ate lots of blue cheese? I know my mum (probably at least a generation younger than Eric Roy's mum) didn't, it just wasn't that readily available, along with many other foods we are careful with during pregnancy now.

I also fail to see how the health implications of no exercise and the increased availability of cheap, crap food can be lumped in with asbestos or lead poisoning, inadequate car restraints for children and other basic safety measures?
It makes me mad when I hear/read people like Mr Roy, who have the opportunity to reach many people, perpetuating the attitude that we don't need to take reasonable care of our kids - because that's all parents are doing when they use car seats and bike helmets and non-lead painted cots. It's not PC, it's just common sense!
And it means that those who can't be assed properly restraining their kids in the car get to keep using this excuse.

Lily said...

I wonder if Mr Roy would be OK with bringing his kids up in a house that wasn't properly insulated? Whether he'd happily let his child sleep in a cot coloured with lead paints? Does he make his kids wear a helmet? Does he want to go back to the days where cars didn't have airbags or seatbelts? Would he put his kids in a car without both? Etc etc.

What annoys me about men like Mr Roy who make stupid ill-informed rants like his "good old days" rubbish - is that I bet he DOES tell his child not to share drink bottles. And I bet he does give them healthy food and stops them from drinking fizzy drinks.

Because he knows that's the best way - But instead of advocating positive parenting he just wants to jump on a silly PC bandwagon.

ia_macdonald said...

do you really think that Mr Roy was around when his kids were growing up?
It also seems strange that the men who are so keen to not be told how things might be are very keen to prescribe what and how I may put things into my body.

Anonymous said...

The one true Nik said...

Wow, anonymous, that's really not the same thing. There's helicopter parenting and then there's just observing basic safety precautions.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't get too excited - just Eric having a Four Yorkshiremen moment

Anonymous said...

Sorry - ah whatthehell you can google it anyway

Julie said...

I am familiar with the Yorkshire Men. That was a satirical skit. Mr Roy's blog post does not appear to be of a piss-take nature...

Not sure that speculating on whether Mr Roy was there when his own children was little or not is relevant, btw.