I was raised in a traditional family during the fifties and sixties. At least, I always felt like it until I started to question the words “traditional family.” Then I realized that I was the only child of two working parents. I can’t remember a time when my mother didn’t work. Because both of my parents were public school teachers and had roughly the same work day as I had school day, I was never in “child care.” But I was a latchkey kid. In elementary school, I wore the front door key around my neck, and when I got off of the school bus I walked to my empty home and let myself inside. I didn’t have to wait long until my parents arrived home, and I never remember being frightened or afraid to be alone. I don’t think my parents worried about me either. I never had to call them when I got inside the house to signal my safe arrival home. In fact, I don’t remember ever calling them at their schools for any reason. We just expected everything to be all right with all of us. While we may have had fears, we also had faith in ourselves. We were guided by our common sense in those days.
So even though both my parents worked and there was no stay at home Mom at my house, I believe I was raised in a traditional family. Common sense used to be a tradition we all had. It was handed down from generation to generation until we all moved so far apart that we couldn’t reach each other’s hands. In its absence we found we had to replace common sense with something. That something has become a plethora of instant information, some of it so scary as to make us mistrustful and afraid. Some of it is so ugly as to make us cynical about the goodness of life.
I think we were a lot better off when we were holding hands with family and friends and sharing what we knew to be true. This is partly what makes our school a non-traditional educational setting. We still care about holding hands and sharing our life stories with each other and with our children. Years back, when I was little, that was traditional.
Director/Elementary 1 Teacher