Post by Rain San Martin
To see how easily society conforms to custom and public expectations one need only to view a few episodes of Turn Back Time. This reality show places several modern day families into historically accurate homes and lifestyles. From the early 1900’s through the 1970’s they live out the lifestyle of five different time eras. What was most remarkable was not the changes due to technology, it was the artificial limitations society placed upon itself due to the social customs of the day.
At a glance we observe these types of changes throughout society as they have morphed over the last 115 years. During the Edwardian Era of the 1900’s children were to be seen yet not heard. Very little family time was present. In the 1920’s an upper-class family would continue to spend just enough money to “keep up appearances” even during financial hardship, nor would they socialize with the lower class. In the 1940’s it was now considered appropriate to spend more time with the children. During the 1960’s families gathered around the TV set and teens had very little supervision. 1970’s families found themselves spending money on unhealthy TV dinners, which were all the rage and children could play in the streets for hours.
Changes in Expectations of Children’s Behavior Over the Past 115 Years:
Children are seen yet not heard (1900-1910’s) = Family time is cherished (1940’s-today) = Children should explore (1970’s) = Sign them up for as many activities that can be squeezed in, hence no more time to explore (today).
Changes in the View of a Career Homemaker Over the Past 115 Years:
Homemaking is a desirable calling of a women (1900-1950’s) = She has the right to choose if she works outside of the home (1960’s) = A woman should not be a homemaker (1980’s – 2000’s) = Homemaking is once again seen as a desirable calling by the next generation (Today)
Eat healthy real food (1900’s – 1950’s) = Eat processed food (1950’s – 2000’s) = Eat real food again (Today). Not to mention health fads and trendy diets which come and go.
Changes in Entertaining Customs Over the Past 115 Years:
Spend endless hours entertaining guests with a dinner party (1900’s – 1950’s) = Serve a simple meal for a couple (1980’s – Today)
Some standards should never change. The timeless truth found in the Bible will hold up to any time era. Yet there are countless customs and fashions that we conform to simply because we believe there is no other way. Reading historical books and learning about the past will immediately shed a light on the folly that comes with blindly following convention. It’s simple to go with the masses. Stand back from the crowd and take in the panoramic view. That which you see as a vital ritual may in fact be a hot trend of the times.
Live outside of time. Pick your traditions, fashion and activities with purpose. Choose your own adventure.