Cross-generational study Essay
Misunderstandings the aged possess with their grandchildren and other younger people can best be explained by the fair amount of changes which occurred in social life during the past years. Modern music sounds much too loud and cacophonic to the elderly, youth movements seem to be senseless and dangerous, their thoughts and speech are seen as appalling, and their feelings appear to be false and strange. In the same time the youth neglects the values and principles of the older people. And for me the reason is seen with the half an eye.
It is that their growing up and forming of their system of moral and social values occurred in the most different societies. To make it easier for us to communicate with the elderly people it would be great if we tried to get more information about their system of values and norms. Knowing it we will be able to avoid numerous misunderstanding in future. This paper is the summary of the analysis of the norms and values of the elder person. Mrs. Sheila Bradley, my interviewee is a high school teacher in a public school in San-Diego, Texas. She is 65 years old now. Mrs.
Bradley has been teaching English literature to her students for forty two years already. She has long been my mother’s close friend, so that when my parents needed to find a godmother for me, she was the first person to ask, and she gladly agreed to do it. Aunt Sheila has lived the biggest part of her life in San-Diego. Her mother gave birth to her in New-York, and there was where she grew up and attended high school. She later confessed that had always dreamed of living in a smaller city, so that she persuaded her parents to let her attend college in San-Diego.
She successfully graduated there, found a teaching job, and in a couple of years met her future husband, Charley. They got married soon and Aunt Sheila gave birth to her daughters. She’s been a teacher for all her life, and she said she’s never wanted to change the occupation. At first I asked Aunt Sheila about the norms and values that determined family life at her younger years. She told me a lot about the typical family in the early sixties. It turned out, that at that times there were much less divorced or separated families, thus less children were raised in one-parent families.
Most of her acquaintances and friends lived in nuclear families, but there still were those, who dwelled with the expanded family. Two-parent family was considered to be one of the essentials for raising a child. It was also that much more women stayed home to do the house and care for the kids. Maternity was considered to be much more important than the career was for women. There was much less labor-saving gadgetry at those times, so that housewives had a lot of things to do about the house.
In all the families of Aunt Sheila’s friends and acquaintances, men were the breadwinners. The situation, when the women worked to support her family, was uncommon and rare, and the society disapproved that situation. It was socially approved that man had to bring the bacon home. The social roles of the husband and wife were strictly defined. Forty years ago computers were much less widespread than today, Internet didn’t exist, and average American watched much less TV. The members of the family spend more time together than they do now in Aunt Sheila’s family.
She recalled they went out together at least two times a week at those times. They went picnicking, eat out or went shopping together. She says they do it much rarer nowadays. When she was younger, recalled Aunt Sheila, people paid less time to making money on their workplaces. Both her family members and friends rarely worked extra hours or weekends, and the work-related stress was much milder. Professional life wasn’t allowed to obstruct family issues than. Another difference is that when my interviewee was younger, people spent much less money than they do now.
She said that neither she, nor her friends, sisters or other relatives, saw the point in buying extravagant clothes and expensive gadgetry. Aunt Sheila’s children and the children of her friends and relatives did more about the house than children and adolescents do now. They watched less TV played computer games rarer, but, in the same time, they weren’t as concerned about leading healthy lifestyles, as contemporary youngsters are. When my interviewee was still in her twenties the notion of the one-sex marriage was considered to be appalling in their society.
Homo- and bi-sexuality was an issue of strong social disapproval then. People couldn’t even think about allowing such couples to register their relationship officially and adopt kids. In Aunt Sheila’s opinion, when she was young, friendship played less important role than it does now. People were more family-oriented, and friends were people just to spend some free time with and to socialize. They weren’t trusted as much, as the family members were. My interviewee also claimed that when she was in her twentieth people, and especially women, got married earlier than they do now.
There was much less couples who cohabited instead of registering their relationship officially. Lots of people, especially young ones, think of cohabiting as a great way to get all the privileges that marriage gives, without giving any commitments, nowadays; but it was much stronger disapproved then than it is now. It was considered that the main difference between giving the marriage oaths and cohabiting was that people, who registered their marriage, usually thought that it was a life-long relationship.
They planned to live together in spite of all the problems and disagreements they might have had, and, what’s also very important, they wanted to give birth to children and raise them together. On the contrary, cohabiting was based on the agreement that the couple would continue living together only in case they would both be satisfied with their partner’s behavior. Unstable relationship between the man and women didn’t satisfy the society, as it was inappropriate for raising a child. Before talking about the prevailing values of that time period we should identify, what do we exactly want to say when using this term.
According to the definition provided by the Lasting Forests Website, Values are “the particular (frequently subjective) positive point of view of an individual or the common point of view of a group on an issue, way of life, or concerning the worth of things or experiences. Values may range from those that are subjectively meaningful to a given individual to those that are shared cultural norms. They influence the selection of the means and ends of actions, and they serve as the criteria by which objects or actions are evaluated.
” From the interview we can determine that family and kids were one of the most important values for people at those times. People considered family to be of greater importance than their job or friends were, so that it was a social norm for the married people to spend most part of their free time with their spouses and children. Women were expected to raise children and do the housework instead of building a career and breadwinning, and if the woman did it another way she became an object for social disapproval.
The mother was considered to be of greater importance for the child than the father was, so that her socially defined role was of housewife and governess for the children. The social norms were strong which stated that man had to be the breadwinner in the family, regardless of his wishes and abilities. Friendship was considered to be of less importance then, as it took time that had to be devoted to the family. It wasn’t custom to develop a close friendship for people than, as it might’ve prevented family life.
The friendship between the married man and a married woman also wasn’t approved, as it was seen as a potential threaten to the marriage of both of them. As giving birth to a child and raising it was one of the most important values at those times, the society developed norms and principles that helped to preserve the full family. For example, divorce, especially that initiated by the woman was strongly disapproved by the surroundings, so that the quantity of divorced and separated families was much smaller than now.
Cohabiting also wasn’t thought to be the appropriate form of relationship for the man and women. The reason is that living together often doesn’t result in a serious relationship, as people continue living together only until they are both satisfied with their partner’s behavior. As a rule they do not want to have children on different reasons, thus the pregnancy of the woman either breaks that relationship or leads to the official registration of marriage.
The society was doing it’s best to make people create families. Talking about the social instruments of conviction, we shouldn’t forget about the pressure that parents often make on their grown-up children who are still not married. Legal issues are also a problem for those who choose to cohabit instead of marrying. On the contrary, marriage is considered to be the acceptable form of relationship between the man and woman all over the world, that’s why married couples are in privileged position.
According to the opinion most people had forty years ago single-sex family was not an appropriate environment for raising a child, that’s why a social norm existed that stated homo- and bi-sexuality to be an issue of strong social disapproval then. At those times money and career were considered to be less important than they are now, as they demanded lots of time and attention taken from the family. Of course man had to bring home enough money to support his family, but his presence and attention were valuated more than material goods. Forty years ago people bought much less clothes, gadgetry etc.
To cut the long story short, they were consuming less than nowadays. Instead of buying new expensive toys for their children or expensive jewelry for their wives man spent time with them helping about the house playing or hiking. To promote family unity a norm existed that stated children had to listen to their parents’ advice on various issues and act in concordance with them. Works Cited 1. Giles, Robert. (2004) Values. Glossary. Lasting Forests Website. Retrieved February 7, 2005. < http://fwie. fw. vt. edu/rhgiles/appendices/glossv. htm >