It is common for each generation to look at the subsequent generation and make a comparison. How many of us have heard the challenges and struggles of our fathers – whether it be how far they had to walk in the snow to school or how many chores they were required to do with little to no appreciation.
Technology set aside; I believe the greatest generational difference between myself and my son would be economical versus fashionable. It is a known fact the boys are tough on clothes. Often my mother would say that we could wear a hole in our pants before the clothes even had the tags off. This was true. My brother and I were the typical boys (before the invention of video games). We were playing outside from sun up to sun down – jumping fences, climbing trees, playing ball, etc (all the things boys should be doing and probably a couple of things they shouldn’t).
Being raised by your average middle-class family, there was not necessarily a lot of excesses. So my father was thrilled with the invention of Tuff Skins in the early 70s. Tuff Skins were jeans which came with a warranty. If you ever wore a hole in your Tuff Skins, the store would replace the jeans free of charge. At the rate my brother and I wore through pants, my father acted as though he just won the state lottery.
I can honestly say that neither my brother nor I ever wore a hole in our Tuff Skins. But, how could you? It was like wearing titanium. These were by far the most uncomfortable garments ever created. The jeans may not have shown any wear, but the outer thighs of anyone wearing them reflected significant wear. The jeans may have looked stiff and not overly fashionable but they were definitely economical.
My son needed a couple of pairs of jeans. As we walked through multiple stores in the mall, I could not help but notice that all of the jeans for sale appeared to already have holes – so in essence people are buying holy jeans. When I questioned the quality of jeans with holes, my son quickly responded that they were fashionable and what everyone is wearing. If only my father was only alive to see this. He purchased our jeans to prevent holes and save money. He could have actually bought jeans for which we could quickly develop holes and then sell the jeans at a markup. We definitely missed an opportunity.
It is often hard as a parent to know which the right approach is. Should we be economical or fashionable? I guess that they are not mutually exclusive and one should be able to make a practical compromise. However, I think that most parents agree that one of the biggest disservices we can do for our children is not to equip them with a true understanding of the value of a dollar.
Although……like everything in life, there are consequences. Usually, when a parent does not adequately equip their child, they ultimately end up having to financially support that child for a prolonged period of time. I thank the Lord for my wife and the manner in which she prepared our children for life. I may have failed as a result of my Tuff Skins flashbacks.
Husband, father, coffee connoisseur and lover of all things hockey. At 51 I sometimes wonder have I done enough. I have been married to my best friend for 30 years. She knows all my faults and loves me anyway, As a father of “almost always” perfect boys, I am always surprised at what life has to offer. It is messy, scary, thrilling, and always fun.