Have you ever been nostalgic for a time and a place you have never been? In our move from the generic site at WordPress.com to a self-hosted blog with WordPress.org, we looked long and hard for a theme my wife and I both liked. We finally settled on this one for several reasons, not the least of which is the serene picture of an old front porch that reminded us both of The Waltons. We just love that show, especially the first several seasons. It’s an escape, a wonderful journey back to a time and place we never got to experience. It’s fun to imagine what it would be like to live, to grow up in those times.
Most people, especially as they grow older, probably are nostalgic about the times they grew up in. My wife and I grew up in the 80’s. I mean, the 80’s were pretty cool. We had Reagan, GI Joe, Atari, and girls with phenomenally big hair. I loved the 80’s. I’m pretty sure I even had a sense that those times were special while I was living them. It was just a unique era for America, a great time to grow up.
But even the 80’s can’t compare to the 30’s, at least in my mind. Some of the nostalgia I feel watching The Waltons is probably due to the fact that it was one of the few shows I was allowed to watch as a kid, so those memories are certainly there. Sometimes I envy old folks. They got to experience the world when it was good, or at least better than it is now. There is just something uniquely special about the simplicity of those times – dirt roads, sparse traffic, Mayberry-like common sense law enforcement, modesty, common decency, respect for others and respect for the land. The people in the world of my grandparents and great grand-parents had a spirit, a nobility about them that just seems to be missing today (not all of course, but a higher percentage). They didn’t need to lock their doors at night. With little fear, their kids could walk or ride their bikes a mile or two to the general store, go hunting in the woods or fishing at the lake down the road.
In The Waltons (written loosely based on the childhood memories of Earl Hamner, who grew up during that era), we see (mostly) obedient children who respect their parents not out of fear, but out of love. We see an example of what was the norm back then, the patriarchal society, family bonds of love and loyalty, and sense of God-fearing that existed even among the non-‘churched.’ Every era has its unique sins and problems, and those times certainly had theirs, but I think most anyone would agree that society has certainly shifted away from those time-honored values of our ancestors.
We can’t dwell in the past too long, not with the future pressing down on us a mile a minute, but we can most certainly learn from it. During those times when I find myself pining for the days of old, my thoughts often drift to my own children, and to their children after them. The culture is just so… evil, so decadent. Sure, IPads and Playstation 3s are pretty awesome, and we’re all thankful for indoor toiletries, but people just don’t seem to have the same respect for each other that they did back then. There are lots of reasons, but I think the main one is because they don’t have the same respect for God. Somewhere between the 30’s and today, between The Waltons and Modern Family, society lost its soul. In our quest for ‘more’, we have lost what it means to be ‘good.’
Will our kids look back on their childhood with nostalgia, despite the broken culture they have been thrust into? It’s really up to us! We as parents may not be able to reverse the cultural slide for everyone else, but we can make a stand; we can say as for our house, we will serve the Lord. We will create a culture of life, love, liberty, respect, honor, diligence, and reverence right in our own home, and pass that heritage on to our children so they can create it in theirs. We will honor our ancestors and teach our children the nobility of the heritage passed down to them. We will create family memories that they look back on fondly when they are grown. Our home will be a sanctuary, a place where they feel safe and happy, a place where they can experience all the joys of being a child, because they will be exposed to the world all too soon. There are others doing this too, of this I am certain. If enough do, with the Lord’s strength we can start to change the culture, from the inside out.