I canít really imagine that anyone of pensionable age can doubt that things are not, overall, as bright as they used to be.
Women at work. Was a time when, for the average middle class couple, the manís Ďworkí was sufficiently rewarded to provide for the familyís needs. The woman was able to run the home, bring up the children as well as she knew how, usually with help from the grandmothers, and provide the essential support system on which family life depends if it is to flourish. This was good for the older generation, too, because it provided a worthwhile sense of purpose that isnít attained from sitting around getting bored alone or in equally boring company. Age requires the stimulus of youth; itís a trade where one party gets brightness in life and the other help, both physical and, if needed/possible, financial. Itís not even something that only the middle classes understood and enjoyed: the so-called deprives families of the third world and poorer parts of contemporary Europe still have an enormous grandparental contribution in their lives: itís where the home help comes from whilst the parents are out slaving.
The idea that, somehow, Ďwomen at homeí is a pejorative, some kind of life sentence of gloom and doom, is a nonsense born of libber sentiment and propaganda. My own wife and her contemporaries had a great life: not only did they have the joy of being with and seeing their young grow, they had time enough to go out socially wherever the mood took them. In our case, it appeared to be tennis, swimming at the local pool, going out to town now and again to see what new ideas the shops had to offer and probably squeeze in a bite of lunch. Nope, it didnít take a husband earning a fortune: I was a photographer, remember, with all the mighty ups and downs that implies. It took a mindset thatís now vanished for anyone but the rich. The sisters have spread all too successfully this idea that running a home is a downer, a less-than-second-best option for the failures in life. Bullshit. And you know what? I canít remember a time when I ever came home from the darkroom, even after midnight, and there wasnít a great meal awaiting me! I remember steak, fresh peas and chips (that's fried potatoes, not those hard, wafer things from a packet) and then off to bedÖ Had I but the digestive system left to enjoy that now.
Juvenile delinquency is often blamed on lack of opportunity. This may well be a factor, but how will there ever be opportunity when so many youths are both illiterate, innumerate and in many other ways unemployable, a lifestyle they adopt at school? They can grow up with a permanent grudge on their shoulders (a chip might do) expecting the worst or, instead, go out into the world with the intent of causing as much havoc as they possibly can, secure in the knowledge that there will always be the bleeding-heart lawyer or politician who will excuse them, find them television news interviews (you should hear such interviews!) and find alternative places to deposit guilt other than firmly beside that chip/grudge already ensconced upon said shoulders. Where the parents are either both working to make ends meet, or there are not enough of them or they are also unemployed, the incentive to look after their responsibilities must rapidly vanish in a feeling of hopelessness, of living the treadmill.
Politeness? Of course we were polite; we were brought up to be and educated so to be. It didn't make us idiots, though, we just handled problems in a better way than by resorting to violence and oaths.