Time passed by so fast. It was like yesterday when I attended a youth gathering. Now, I am considered as one who belongs to Generation X. What is a Generation X? Google told me it’s the generation whose birth ranged from 1966 to 1976. Google also has many definitions of a Generation X-ers, especially their characteristics. Well, before you hit google let me give you a glimpse of how Gen X people lived in the Philippines, particularly, how they were raised and what was the culture they were born into. I am writing this for the Millennials to have a knowledge of the generation that precedes them.
How we were raised
I am a Gen X-er. Since our country is a majority of Catholics, divorce was never an option and was never even allowed. I am lucky enough to be born with parents who love each other so much. My mother told me she married my father because he kissed her inside the movie house while they were watching her favorite actress’ movie. Yes, in their generation a man should not touch a woman. If he does he must be prepared enough to marry her. Consequently, they got married. Both of my parents did not have a degree because education in their time was not important. They had been raised by the principle that it was enough to find a work to support for the family. Since technology was absent by then, people lived simply and contentedly. I remembered how poor we were, but we did not had any debt. It was an option but not prevalent to the community, unlike today. The rich people by then were the professionals or the degree holders. And in our town, only approximately ten percent of the population belonged to this group. My parents sent us to school with the hope that we become professionals one day. Becoming an entrepreneur was not even heard of.
How we were as kids
As kids we were obliged to be obedient. One word of the parent, the kid should follow. If we do otherwise, we were threatened to be given to policemen. We were so afraid of the police and the soldiers before because some of them used to torture and kidnap people during the Martial Law. Even if the Martial Law had been already lifted out, the fear still lingered on longer.
Today, most kids are in social media. In our time our socialization was in the streets. There were less vehicles by then and the streets were almost always empty. So we played in the streets. We played Patintero especially when the moon was full. We played hide and seek. We played habulan. We played soldiers versus rebels. We would divide who would be soldiers and who would be rebels. The fun was endless. Some kids would cry yet, everybody knew how to comfort each one. There were bullies but only a few and was always overcome by the majority. Thus, they were not encouraged to be bullies.
In going to school, we also walked together rain or shine. There were no parents who sent us nor fetch us because no one in school owned a vehicle. And there was no impending danger along the streets. What we only watched for were the buses and jeepneys that would pass along the highway.
How we were as teenagers
As teenagers we still played the same games we played in elementary years. There were crushes. There were love letters. We, girls, never wore make-up. There were little changes in our manners because we were entering into lady-hood. But we were not in a hurry to mature. Showing admiration to boys were discouraged, or else you would be branded as cheap. Decency was the value we must follow. And teenagers were not allowed to kiss.
How we were doing in courtship
Courtship was our most kilig moment. When someone courted us, we felt so beautiful and so important. And I could say, we had the best years in courtship. There were no cellphones and no computers in our time. Men who want to court a girl must go to the girl’s house and ask permission from her parents regarding the courtship. Others offered a love song outside the girl’s house to show how the boy adored the girl. This is called harana. Others wrote love letters. It was beautiful then. The stationery often used was fragrant. And we appreciated much when the suitor had that good penmanship. We were also trained to entertain suitors only in our house; not in the streets, not anywhere else. The beauty of this was, we could sense if the suitor was true to his intentions or not. We could look into his eyes. We could feel his nervousness. We could smell his perfume. And when he tried to hold our hand, we could feel how cold he had become due to tension. This kind of courtship is very much absent with the millennials because they would enter into relationships through text messages or chat, or skype. Thus, the bond that connects lovers is not that deep and strong.
I am not judging the millennials. They are just born in a generation far different from ours. And the cultures have changed. The way parents brought up children have changed dramatically too. Moreover, they are much exposed with different cultures and they could copy other’s culture with just a click of the mouse. But the good thing with them is that they are more open, more accepting and more expressive. I just hope, we Gen X parents would still be able to inculcate in the generation after us, the Filipino values and cultures we have been proud of and made us unique from other cultures.
Have a purposeful day!