I was taught that it was wrong to steal.
I was also taught that it was wrong to lie.
Daddies were the head of the household. Mom was second in command. If you didn't behave, you got a spanking or sent to your room - or both! (We also heard the phrase, "Wait til your father gets home!" many many times.)
We had dinner every night together and you used your "manners."
You put plastic slipcovers to keep your furniture looking nice.
You looked your very best when you went out in "the public." Your clothes were clean (held up by a belt) and your hair was combed. (The other day, I actually saw a young man walking down the street holding his pants up with one hand. And yet, it's cool to walk around without a belt and the top of your boxers showing!) Dad wanted us to have our shoes shined. He always said "don't buy anything from a salesman whose shoes are scuffed and dirty. He's not really a good salesman or he'd have pride in himself and in his product." And heaven forbid if we children had written anything on ourselves with pens or markers. That was "trashy." (Wonder what they would have thought about today's tattooed teens?)
We lived by the Golden Rule and it was taught in our schools.
You always answered your elders by saying, "Yes, sir," or "No, Ma'am." You never called them by their first names, it was always Mr. Jones or Miss Smith. If you were raised in the church, you called adults Brother Jones or Sister Smith.
We also learned penmanship using cursive writing. We felt so grown-up when we were allowed to write instead of print!
We learned to tell time from a clock that had roman numerals - no digital for us!
We knew our times tables. We practiced with flash cards. It was a big deal when we knew them by memory all the way up to "the twelves." (It appalls me when my daughter, the high school math teacher, tells me of kids in her classes that still don't know how to multiply or divide. High schoolers who don't know their times tables!)
Every year before school started, we would get a list of school supplies to obtain. Once you got past third grade, the list always included a dictionary. Vocabulary was important and we were tested on it often. Now in the digital age, it seems the shorter the word the better in order to text or tweet faster.
Children had to play outside every day that the weather permitted. (I remember having a tree house was a big deal. Do kids have those anymore?) You only watched television in the evenings - AFTER all homework was done. Bedtime always came early. 8 p.m. for most kids. My parents were radical, and let us stay up to 8:30, and when I got to junior high, 9 p.m.
Kids rode their bikes everywhere. When I became a big kid, in sixth grade, I got to ride my bike to school. I had a chain and combination lock to lock my bike up in the bike rack in school. There were many bike racks holding scores of bikes at the school I attended. Back then it became popular to have a bike with a "banana seat." Mine was leopard!
Hmmm... maybe that was the beginning of my obsession with animal prints ....
We were always having to "face the consequences of our actions." You didn't get bailed out every time you got in trouble. If you got disciplined at school, you could count on getting disciplined at home, too. Parents didn't go down to the school and try to get teachers or administrators fired because they dared to make little Johnny or Suzie toe the line. You were also "paddled" at school by the teacher. (Well, I was never paddled, but I once got a severe shaking!)
When you got married, you stayed together and made it work. Divorce was your last option.
A man's word was his bond. If you said you would do something, you were honor-bound to do it.
I don't mean to make it sound like I grew up in utopia. There were plenty of things wrong in those days - a lot of prejudice, for example, and unequal pay for women who had to work.
Styles and fashions were so weird - cat eye frames for eyeglasses, girdles and garter belts, hairnets, white gloves and hats for Easter Sunday - I could go on and on.
Still, it was a kinder, gentler time ... when I was younger ....
I'm linking up with the Writer's Workshop, writing on prompt 2.) Write something that begins and ends with the words "When I was younger". (inspired by writingfix.com) You can link up at Kathy's blog, Mama's Losin' It.