Although the front page of this morning’s paper was dated 2008, it had more of a 1930s feel to it.
The news conveyed in the four page 1 stories of the Des Moines Register today are not that much different from what my depression-era relatives must have been reading 75 years ago. The good news, I guess, is that Iowans seem to be making the belt-tightening adjustments necessary in this era of inflation, pending shortages, erosion of savings and increasing debt. Apparently we’ve learned something from the trials of our not-so-distant ancestors.
Indeed, some of the trends viewed with alarm today could be viewed as potentially enhancing the strength of family ties, thereby increasing the chance of passing on family history.
A story outlining “signs of the pinch” of our economic downturn points out that financial planners are fielding questions from parents who have allowed grown children to move back into their homes and that families are eating more meals at home these days. Extended families under the same roof were much more common just a generation or so ago and family mealtime is prime story-sharing time.
Another story says that Iowans are cutting legal costs by handling domestic disputes and small claims themselves. Yet another explains that the Iowa legislature is considering expanding the age that young adults can remain covered on their parents’ health care plans and the fourth page 1 story reports that more Iowans are opting for cremation these days, presumably because it’s cheaper than a full-blown casket funeral.
I’ll let the economic pundits argue whether we’re in a recession or not. Whatever we’re in, it hurts, and we can all learn valuable lessons from how previous generations dealt with similar issues in their times. While the underlying problems we face today may be much different from those of decades ago, how we respond to them will be just as critical to future generations as our grandparents’ responses were to us.