It is so easy to say the world was a different place when you were born in 1951, as I was, and that claim can sound, so often, like an old person looking at the past through rose- tinted glasses, but the world WAS a very different place after the war. I have been working on a children’ s novella that takes place in the early 60’s and as I look back at old news clippings from Jet Magazine, a magazine that was about the black community, I find myself moving between feelings of nostalgia and feelings of relief, relief that young people don’t have to sit in at lunch counters, or be attacked by police dogs because they are protesting injustice, and nostalgia for the willingness and courage of young people to protest coupled with a longing for the simplicity of life back then. The juxtaposition of the Civil Rights movement and scrutiny of all previously held beliefs with the vibrancy of music coming out of Motown and out of England flung us out of the world we had known and into another world of unimaginable possibility. Had our parents not laid some sort of foundation for us, we might have all been lost, and some were, in a haze of drugs (“If you remember the sixties, you weren’t there.”) There was ground to stand on. The values of post-war Ohio were not complicated. They were unquestionably unfair to women and minorities, but within the circle that was my world, a black middle class neighborhood, there was a system upon which we could rely. Dad was in charge. Neighbors looked out for everyone’s children, doors were often left unlocked, and church or church events were held more than once a week. There was no reward for doing the right thing i.e. getting good grades, respecting adults. My own house was on a fault, but that is another story, for we inhabit many worlds simultaneously and I was aware of them all, of what I was called to be in each one. By the time I was a teen, I did not believe in doctors, priests, or the government with the blind faith of my parents. I distrusted them all. I measured what my parents and authority figures said against what I saw. I am grateful that my parents gave me something to question. I am glad that they held their beliefs close, even if I rejected those beliefs later because I know now, at 62, that so much of who I am came from beliefs they taught to me and many of those beliefs I still hold as good and true. My parents were not my friends; they were my parents, entrusted with my care. They were the adults and, with all their flaws and vulnerabilities, there is something to be said for their acceptance of that role. They did not need to be my friends. The passing of the mantle of adulthood and the handing over of the earth’s stewardship is not marked by ceremony and so, I suppose, it is not surprising in a world where adults dress like teens and teenagers dress like adults, that the roles have been confused. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a closet conservative seeking a return to a patriarchal society, but what the left got wrong in the Bush years was a failure to understand the idea of family values, whatever those might be. What is right and just is not relative. There is such a thing as right and wrong and it’s the same as it has always been. There is no such thing as a relative morality, in spite of what our politicians and celebrities want us to believe. “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 – 10 – King James Bible I take this to mean, not that we lose a childlike sense of wonder, but that we put on the mantle of adulthood and get about the business of stewardship acting with the maturity and sense of responsibility that we are called to bring to that role. It is a sacred trust and it is time that we saw it as such.