I’ve been seeing anti-drug ads and programs on the television that state how kids get high from drugs in their parents medicine cabinets. The ad writers, news commentators, and dramatic programs are acting like they’ve just discovered this new teen misbehavior. This puzzles and surprises me, because when I was a teenager, my classmates were stealing Valium, painkillers, and more from their parents’ medicine bottles. Just as they were dipping into their folks’ booze. Why is this activity just coming into the collective consciousness of the public? Everyone knew about it (harrumph) years ago. Did it just get forgotten or swept under the rug with the “Just say no” campaign which focused on illegal drugs?
I’m seeing more and more of this type of recycling of material. Fashions are reflecting the 1960’s, television and movies are remaking programs from that era, some of the attitudes about sex education in schools have returned to the 1950’s. No sex education in schools (or abstinence only) didn’t prevent girls from getting pregnant. Actually, since there was no information on how to prevent it, the incidence of pregnancy was higher than it was when sex education was taught in schools.
Even in families, I hear the same complaints from children that I heard from their parents, or vice versa. As a kid, a friend of mine complained that her folks cared more about how other people thought about them than they did about her well-being. When she became a parent, and had a troubled teen, she said that she was concerned about how it was going to affect her standing in the community.
They say that, “Unless we learn from history, we’re doomed to repeat it.” I guess we haven’t really learned much, from our mistakes or successes. Each generation has to try to re-create the wheel, as if it’s the very first time it’s been discovered. And in doing so, they travel the same roads and hit the same bumps. This seems to be true on a cultural, societal, generational, and even individual level. But to learn from our history, we have to be willing to examine it, and to take a new road.