There is quite a cottage industry these days, what with folks making oodles and gobs of money talking and writing about the Olden Days when not only did corporal punishment reign supreme in our public schools, but we also recited our daily prayer each day, watched over by the Ten Commandments which adorned each classroom wall - or at least the hallways, if not both.
Hell, the Ten Commandments were probably on the sides of our school buses, if one believes the myths spread mostly by folks who weren’t actually around in those Days of Glory.
No matter, though.
Because we had our daily prayer, and the Ten Commandments (which reminded us not only not to commit adultery, but also not even to covet our neighbor’s wife - thus covering all the bases) times were good. Kids learned their lessons, and nobody got out of hand . . .
. . . until, that is, the Supreme Court said, in essence, okay, everybody out of the pool. And then, as we all know, prayer was not only taken out of schools but out of churches and the home, as well.
Radio stations no longer played Christmas music.
Religious holidays were no longer celebrated.
No more children were baptized, as religious observance became a capital offense - oh, what am I saying? Nothing changed at all, except that we didn’t pray in school any more.
But as for the idyllic days of yore, when young folks were Ozzie-and-Harriets-in-training? Well, things weren’t quite as those who would rewrite history might have us believe.
If it were so, I’m not sure we would have films like The Blackboard Jungle, an Academy Award winning film about Juvenile Delinquency Film in high school.
The coming-of-age drama Rebel Wout a Cause, with James Dean.
French director François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows.
High School Confidential, a 1958 about marijuana use.
Or even Hot Rod Gang, Hot Rod Girl or Teenage Bad Girl, for crying out loud.
True, most of these films were probably due to the hysteria of the so-called “adult” society at the time, reacting with suspicion and fear to the new music, literary styles and dress of the young - much like the semi-hysterical postings one might see on Facebook today.
But as a kid I remember listening to newsman Paul Harvey (who seemed to be on just about every radio station) grousing about juvenile delinquency. Even on the old Alfred Hitchcock show, there was none of his usual sardonic humor at the end of any particular episode dealing with JD.
The out-of-control youth were a problem. They needed discipline.
And hey, they had prayer in schools, the Pledge of Allegiance, and maybe even the Ten Commandments looking down upon them in the hallways - though I suspect they were a lot rarer than the professionally paranoid might care to admit.
Remember, this was a time when lunatic parents were forcing kids to throw their comic books on bonfires, so maybe the views of the revisionists should be taken with a cupful of salt.
Quote of the Day
In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it. - Marianne Williamson