never see children playing outside today like H u m a n i t i e s
I interviewed my mother who is currently 72 and was born December 07, 1948. My mother discussed much of her youth consisted of helping around the house with chores and going to school. She said it was always important to do her chores and help her mother around the house. Her family was very traditional, as far as her dad working and her mom staying to care for the home. School was also an important aspect to her parents. They pushed her to get good grades, which helped her go on to college.
She believes that “youth” during her time is very different compared to the “youth” today. To her teenagers are very consumed in their electronics and their phones. She stated that you never see children playing outside today like you would in the past. She also believes that teenagers today are very rude. Manners were always important and enforced by her parents. She believes that manners are just something that are taught very much now.
She also comes from a very religious family. My mother believes that religion isn’t practiced as often as it use to be. She stated that often religion can feel forced among more recent generations. During her free time, she really enjoyed reading and even went to college to be a Psychologist. My mother talks about today’s teens and how you don’t see very many being interested in books anymore. Teens are quite different today from the past generations of youth.
For your follow-up post, you MUST discuss patterns across the interviewees (a minimum of FOUR classmates). I encourage you to give your classmate credit for their contribution.
For this assignment, I have chosen to interview a good friend and co-worker, Anthony Howard by telephone. His date of birth is 09 January 1956.
They called “teenagers” words such as hipsters/youngsters. Their outfits would include: platform shoes, bell bottom pants, apple hats and shirts made in a floral pattern. These were the necessities to be a “cool” kid during this time in history. I believe this applies to today’s “teenagers” as well because certain trends are popular from celebrities such as sports stars, musicians and celebrities and the children want to emulate these styles because they look up to the individual that is wearing the clothes, shoes or jewelry.
The schooling was strict during middle school and high school. He attended school with a lot of children that had parents that were in the military on the Air Base. He went to multiple schools in California, Texas and Germany. There weren’t many high school dropouts during his four years of high school because it wasn’t very acceptable during this time. Most children completed the requirements to graduate high school on time or early. Lastly, he stated it was hard during these years because he had to continually make new friends due to all the moving around during his childhood due to his dad’s military service.
In his free time after school, he played a lot of sports to stay busy. He played football, basketball and baseball. Sports was a big deal as he started playing sport at a young age due to his dad’s influence. Mr. Howard’s father was the coach and he enjoyed giving back to the community where he lived and he coached youth sports at each base that he was stationed at over his 20 year career. Mr. Howard’s favorite team was his basketball team that won several tournaments throughout the state of California in the mid to late 1970’s.
In his family life, Mr. Howard’s mother worked at the junior college and his father worked in the United States Air Force. He retired from the Air Force in the grade of E-7, Master Sergeant. Upon his father’s retirement from the United States Air Force, he went to work for Bell Helicopters and received another retirement after working for the company for an additionally 20 years. Mr. Howard felt that his dad’s military service had a direct impact on how he was raised and later on, credited his dad for the reason that he served in the United States Air Force for 20 years and retired as well. He stated his dad was strict, as well as his teachers, therefore, it made things easier at school because the standards were the same at home and school. If Mr. Howard got into trouble, he knew a long punishment awaited him. Therefore, he did not get into a lot of trouble throughout his teenage years.
I chose to do the interview with my father who was born February 27, 1932. He was born in Mexico, he used “joven” to refer to teenagers it would translate as “youth.” He did mention that teenagers in his time and now are vastly different. For one they were more respectful than they are now. He also mentioned that when he was a teenager he was working in the fields in a farm. He did not go to high school he only went to elementary school. According to my father, “Children were lucky to go to at least elementary school because once they were old enough to help in the fields, schooling would stop.” He did mention that schooling was reserved for those considered economically wealthy, or higher-class families. This changed later when it was his younger sisters time for schooling, she did get to go to middle school and high school.
When I asked him about gender differences, he mention that in his times men worked the fields did all the manual labor as he saw it. The women took care of the household, cooking cleaning and taking care of the kids. His sisters all learned to cook and helped take care of the younger children. He recalls at the age of 10-11 that he was already going out and working the land with my grandfather. My aunts, he recalls them making tortillas as young and helping with the cleaning.
When we discussed free time, he laughed and said its amazing how teenagers pass the time. He said,
“Everyone is just stuck looking at their phones, TV, computers or playing video games. Teens can’t live with out technology.” He told me how he would pass what little free time he found, which was usually in the evening after they did the days work. His father would tell them stories, or he said he would love to star gaze. He said the stars were so clear and so many because there were not so many city lights blocking them out. He also mentioned playing baseball with his friends when they had free time or listening to music or stories in the radio. He said, “I supposed that’s still them same, teenagers love listening to music and now they hear their books the same way I used to hear stories through a radio or device.”
Lastly, he talked about how the family was extremely religious and once they reached the teen years his brother chose to become a priest instead of following my father in working the fields. The same with his sister who chose to become a nun as soon as she was considered a teen.
I interview my mom, her name Sharyl O’Brien she is 71 years of age. Her birthdate is January 5, 1950.
She said that they were referred to as kids or youngsters. Which isn’t much different to now, I don’t usually hear youngsters used unless it is by someone that is older. Kids now are usually referred to as kids or children. I have even referred to my own daughter as my little.
She said that they went to school every day unless they were sick, which really isn’t much different from now. Kids are still recommended to attend school unless they are sick. Now there is even stricter rules about kids going to school and parents get in trouble if their kids aren’t in school.
She said that homework was always done after chores. I would say that now every house is different on how they prioritize chores and homework. Some children don’t even have chores now and some families don’t make sure their children do their homework. Especially during this time in our life and kid attending school online, it has been even harder to get a lot of kids to even do their everyday schoolwork.
Dads worked every day even Saturday at least till noon, when my mom was growing up. Moms sometimes worked, but it wasn’t very common for a mother to work. Now and days it is common for either parent to work or even both to work.
My mother expressed that she had never really thought about race or the problems it created. That they were just trying to survive. She isn’t even sure that she had met a black person until after my dad joined the army. She said if there was talk about a black person for any reason, they were referred to as colored. Although we have come a long way since my mother’s time, there is still a long way we must come for blacks. It is crazy to me that my mother never met a black person until she was out of high school. You can meet any kind of race now any day of the week.
My mother said they took some family vacations. One to Yellowstone Park with my great grandma and my great grandpa, before they moved to CA. Growing up we didn’t take tons of vacations, but when I was in middle school, we started doing family vacations every summer, but they stopped when both of my parents retired. My husband and I try to take our daughter to as many places we can. Not all families can afford to take vacations though.
She expressed her free time was baseball games for my brother or scout meetings for her and her siblings. They would go fishing and have picnics with grandparents and other family members. Free time now is different for all families, but I do think most are probably on electronics.
I interviewed my Grandma who was born on 3 December 1944, about her experiences when she was a youth. She doesn’t recall anyone ever referring to her and her friends as teenagers, but she does recall going to teenager films “like Annette and Frankie movies” (Stevens, 2021). According to Grandma, parents were much stricter than parents are today. I think this statement is relative to the time considering that I wasn’t dropped off with a group of my friends at the same age because we were considered too young to be left unsupervised.
In regards to family life, she also said that once she became a teenager she didn’t think her daddy liked her very much anymore. She didn’t climb on him or play with him like she did when she was a child, he mostly sat on the porch and drank his martinis and her mom became her source of comfort. I think this is a good example of what Hine refers to the teenage mystique which encourages parents to treat their young like a strange species. (Hine, 2000) I had a similar experience when I was a teen in the 90’s but I think that as gender rolls are challanged, we’ll see less judgment concerning what is appropriate behavior for a young lady and physical displays of emotion for men.
In her free time, my Grandma liked to sew and talk on the phone with her friends. She didn’t go out often but she did have a lot of “pajama parties”. Her parents enjoyed making burgers, ensuring that all the girls were fed enough and knowing who their only child was being influenced by. They also liked to drive around and if they saw one of their friends they would pull up and talk. She said the women were really mean to teenage girls then. One night she was riding around in an old farm truck with her girlfriends in the middle of the night and it broke down. Her friend called her brother and he had to sneak out the window to come help them because his mother wouldn’t let him go to their rescue. My friends and I liked to “cruise” but I think that technology has opened up other options for Gen Z teens, they can meet up with their friends virtually.
She said it was similar at school, “Adults just didn’t even try to understand and a lot of the teachers didn’t even like kids.” (Stevens, 2021) In one class they were told to run around in a circle and the teacher grabbed Grandma by her ponytail and pulled her along because the teacher didn’t feel that she was running fast enough. The boys didn’t have it any easier, shop was only for boys back then but the shop teacher had a big board with holes drilled in it, “if one of the guys got out of line the teacher would grab him out of the seat and beat the crap out of his butt with it so you didn’t mess around in Mr. Penelton’s class!” A teacher today wouldn’t dare put a hand on a child without parental consent but there are still rural schools that give “swats” in place of detention. I think that teachers genuinely like children, at least when they start teaching, and aren’t doing it because it’s one of the few socially acceptable professions for a woman that wants to work.
Hine, T. (2000). The rise and fall of the American teenager. New York: Perennial
Unit 1 Activity [Telephone interview]. (2021, January 14).