I was raised in a place where most of my peers were bastards, literally.
Having attended my own parents wedding I can easily be counted among their number.I read an article once written by a man named Ron Kurtz. In it he was recalling a large gathering that he had attended to hear some people, well known in their circles, speaking out against the Vietnam War. Kurtz recounted how one man was proposing that all of the world’s political decisions ought to be made in accordance with one question: “Is it good for the children?” I think his method is a practical one, and for me it clears up any farfetched stories I may have had about the benefits of war. Kurtz however was spurred in a different direction by the remarks. He goes on to spend the remainder of the article asking the question: “What is actually good for children?” I recommend anything written by this man, and this article is no exception. With the hope that you, the reader, are either uninterested or forgetful enough not to care, I will ruin the end by letting you in on the answer.
Basically, according to Kurtz, what is good for kids is for their parents to have worked out the bulk of their own shit. Fail- ing that, an ability to recognize baggage can be an important step. When I look around I see varying degrees of self awareness in people of all ages. Also I see people passing these states of awareness down through fam- ily lines, like hands in a genealogical game of Texas hold’em. The whole world is bluffing; some better than others, and most people are betting beyond what they can afford.
Our parents are a remarkable generation because they tested the waters of so many ideals that we hold dear enough to take for granted today. In the case of my peers we were immersed in a set of revolutionary social and cultural ideas prenatally. Our fam- ily’s values held strong throughout our youth. I think that we have become people that only see some of the cards in the hand that we’ve been dealt, if you will bear with my meta- phor. In our youth any time that predated our parents felt like an ancient land of outland- ish beliefs. It is only recently that I have begun to see that many of these cards in my hand originate from only a single generation before me. Within my lifetime I have come to realize that this isn’t the way the world always was. The re-contextualization of the ideals my parent’s hold has made them useful tools in the world I live in today. It began with my mom and dad when they were just young punks themselves. They were the first to really draw major attention the issues that are commonplace to our generation such as the equality of women, the environment etc. but most of all self-awareness and they made it out mostly whole.
I for one am proud of the hand I was dealt. For the gaping pit where my work habits should have gone, I have a capacity for compassion that can only come from being raised by the open-minded and nude. So it is, with my lot. For every deficit there has been overcompensation making us both delicate and powerful. I move through life walking with an uneven loping gait that makes me recognizable from a distance.