I was born in 1942

Guest Columnist

I was born in 1942. I grew up in the 1940’s and the 1950’s. The values of those times were based on traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs. The Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments were acceptable guides for daily behaviors.  In my Catholic high school, we were taught men have free wills and may choose any path they wish to follow in life.

We were encouraged to share our things. Generosity was a virtue. We were reminded each day that often others depended on us, watched our actions and learned from us. We took care of family, friends and even strangers who required assistance. We were taught to respect all women. They were our mothers, our spiritual base and the glue holding our nuclear families together. Our churches and synagogues were sanctuaries for persons in need.

We stood up for what was right. We sacrificed for our loved ones, and we cared about our neighbors. We understood the value of productive work. We were confident and humble at the same time. We never beat our own chests. We educated and disciplined our children. We worked hard to be better, our eyes looked upward, and we reached for the stars.

We may never have proof of our importance in the lives of those with whom we share time, but we are probably far more important to them than we think. Through the 1940’s and 1950’s, we learned to accept responsibility for our behaviors and their consequences. We were curious and informed and we revered intelligence and the educated. We were encouraged to excellence. We were counselled to strive to do better today than we did yesterday. We learned about courage, and we didn’t scare easily.

In 1988, Robert Fulghum wrote the book, All I Really Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. It was an enormous best seller with more than 16 million copies in print. I was always fascinated by the simplicity of his premise. “All I really needed to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten.” He was born in 1937 and grew up in the 1940’s and 1950’s, as did I. He wrote:

Share everything

Play fair

Don’t hit people

Put things back where you found them

Clean up your own mess

Don’t take things that aren’t yours

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody

Wash your hands before you eat


Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you

Live a balanced life-learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some

Take a nap every afternoon

When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.

Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go  down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.

Remember Robert Fulghum”s words, “all I really needed to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was found in a sand pile at school.”  From time to time, let’s visit the old sand pile.


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3 Responses for “I was born in 1942”

  1. Ralph Monaco says:

    Response to “I was born in 1942”
    Excellent article, and a stark reminder of the deterioration of these values in todays society.

  2. Judi Davis says:

    How we wish it was so easy at this time in our lives..I’m going to find this book….thank you

  3. Gabe Rosica says:

    Getting people to do that today is as hard as pulling teeth. 🙂 (a bit of a private joke)

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