I wrote this several years ago when my children were teenagers. Talking to the parents of teenagers these days things have not changed a lot. One hundred years ago, ten years ago and now -- there are shared comforts.
After fighting in the Civil War, my grandfather married the daughter of Swiss immigrants and took off to homestead. One hundred years ago, my grandmother was raising eight children as a homesteader in Dakota Territory. The family would eventually move from their sod hut on the prairie into a nice house in town. But for many years, their life as homesteaders was often dangerous and difficult.
During my twenties when I was filled with angst, I would try to snap myself out of it and regain perspective by reflecting upon my grandmother and what I thought might have been her concerns. I imagined that she only worried about real things, life sustaining, survival issues. She was not worried about which college to apply to, which man to marry, which issue to struggle for. She was probably just happy when her children were snug and safe in their beds at night.
Now, these many years later, I am the mother of two teenagers. They are good children, but they are in this world. They are exposed to risks and values that scare me. When they are out in the evening, my ears hear every siren (I don't notice them on nights when they are in). When they meet a new friend, I pray that this person is someone with good sense and good values. When they listen to music that makes me shudder, I hope that their core of goodness will not be affected. When they're off on their bikes, I hope they are not in the path of a crazy driver. When they are out in the cars of other teens, I pray that the driver doesn't need to impress or show off for anyone.
One hundred years have passed, but some things have not changed. I am now, just as I have imagined my grandmother to be. I am happy when my children are snug and safe in their beds at night.