“We were freer than our grandchildren are”
Annie, 71 years old
“We were post-war children. Our parents wanted above all to protect us from what they had gone through, without however giving us all the solutions in the face of difficulties. We had to find out for ourselves. School for them was essential to have a job, and not a situation, in order to be able to fend for ourselves in life. It was a real learning of autonomy.
→ READ. Are our children overprotected?
At the age of 10, I took the metro on my own. Information of any kind did not reach us easily, we had to seek and develop curiosity and imagination in all areas. We took responsibility for our mistakes, our omissions, even though our parents were always there to support us if we were unable to cope with a situation. We were freer than our grandchildren are, while being framed. The fear, the doubts, the events of life, the violence did not have the same outlines as today. “
“We felt we existed, taken into consideration”
Jean-Claude, 74 years old
“As a child, I lived in the city center, where I spent a lot of time playing outside with my friends, balling in the square, roller skates or cycling in the streets. The mothers watched us from the balconies but it was not a close mark. My father was very busy professionally and my mother associated with it. We were trusted, while expecting us to be responsible, and there was a collective interest.
My learning to be independent happened quite naturally. In town, we knew the traders, we talked with them. We felt we existed, taken into consideration. The baker sometimes gave us small responsibilities like tidying up the back room, and we got three cents back. Sport also played a lot: we went to play matches in the department, supervised by the football club. We also had a lot of bans, especially at college, in the private sector. But I see that the bans are also coming back in force! “
“Daughter of farmers, I learned to handle tools very early on”
Nicole, 70 years old
“I grew up in a small village, the daughter of farmers, second in a family of eight children. To relieve mom, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, where I spent the nights. I navigated from house to house in the village with a certain capacity for initiative. At the time, we did not meet children of our age outside of school, except at catechism. Our life was centered on family, work at home and on the farm. I learned very early, by reproduction, to accomplish many tasks, to manipulate tools… I was allowed to go towards what attracted me, the tasks outside.
On the other hand, when I was 11, I went to boarding school, where everything was only in authority. Of course, there was no question of asking for help with our homework, but it was not real autonomy. As a teenager, I made my first personal decisions, got involved as a Guide… Today, children benefit from more influences, do activities, are led to express their desires very early on. But at the time, we might be discovering ourselves more by ourselves, and not by following the wishes of our parents. “