Each generation is a single swing of the pendulum of time, where over time the extremity of reaction is diminished until a balance is reached.
Throughout history, the faults, foibles and mistakes of living experienced by one generation were over-compensated for by the following generation.
This effect appears to happen because of the “hindsight is 20/20” syndrome. We fail to see the mistakes we are making until we are presented with the end result when looking at it from the next generation.
The last 100 years are the most extreme because of the rapid rise of industry, invention and technology.
It’s impossible to measure the effects, whether negative or positive until a clear pattern can be examined.
The best example of this is the way we raise and feed our families.
I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, at a time when our parents weren’t as well off as we are now. Then, and in the post-war period of the 50’s, every family was the same. Since we did not have the technology and electronics of today, we were very active as kids.
Unfortunately, the only way to stretch a budget to feed the larger families of the time was to include a lot of heavy carbs and cheap, sweetened products. A treat was to go to the nearest drive-in for cheap burgers, fries and a soda. There was no such thing as salads.
It was expensive for us to eat fresh vegetables except in the autumn during corn season, when we lived on corn boils (carbs again).
I can remember, as a child, the best treat ever was to follow behind the trucks hauling pea bushes to the local cannery and pick up the stragglers that blew off onto the side of the road. To this day, I love to eat raw peas.
Today, we are bombarded with constant media coverage about the evils of obesity and pressure to lose weight.
Believe me, I’ve been a yo-yo dieter. Once I lost weight, I would gain even more back. I honestly believe that if I hadn’t started that very first diet, I’d be nowhere near as heavy as I am now.
The ballooning population of obese people?
To me, it seems the majority are the baby boomers, as well as some of the following generation just before it became apparent our eating habits were causing problems.
After watching yet another infuriating bit of coverage about obesity on television, I realized that I know numerous obese or overweight people.
But, do you know what else I noticed?
Although I know several overweight or fat people, I don’t know a single obese person whose kids are fat.
The past one or two generations are eating much better and had the advantages of all the opportunities for scheduled, regular sports and activities. They are of a more normal weight because their diets have improved as a result of the change in financial health, circumstances and our increasing knowledge of the effects of foods and diet.
That swinging pendulum of passing generations does, over time, educate us and enable us to modify our lifestyles accordingly.
In the meantime, we need to stop tormenting those who are living with the ill effects of the time in which they grew up.
With all this said, we cannot ignore the negative effects of the way we live. As long as we recognize them and change the way we raise our own children, we are doing the right thing.
In my case, my metabolism is totally shot as a result of my early dietary habits and if I had been left alone and not judged and reprimanded all the time because of my size, I’m sure I wouldn’t have dieted and I’d be a lot smaller.
We need to stop paying attention to the media as it applies to our own lives, simply because it’s impossible for us to know the honest from the dishonest, or the real from the fake.
We need to return to governing our own lives the way people did prior to the last century – with plain old common sense and learning from our own mistakes and experience.