And it’s Hello from Me….

Hi there, My Name’s Tom and I kinda run things over here at GenForward. A chunk of my time will be spent putting out blogs and trying my best to respond to as many of our member’s comments and issues as it’s humanly possible to do. Given that it’s likely there’s going to be a lot of stuff written by me all over the site, I thought it might not be a bad idea to tell you a little about myself and my background, so that it may give you some context for some of the blogs I might write and the responses I may give. Ok, first off, I need to say that I’m not one of those people who have a built in need tell the world every little detail of my life as it happens. I’m in my late 40’s now, married and have one son. I…

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How Did We Ever Survive?!?

I look at the way life is today, and the way children are handled not only in my own house, but it seems most others round here. Then I look back at the way things were when I grew up and you know what, it may be amazing that I survived childhood, but the outcome is totally different in terms of self-confidence, independence and resilience. The trend today seems to be to treat children more like they are fragile little flowers, with parents swooping in to deliver a hug or wipe a nose or whatever depending on the “disaster” at hand. When I was brought up, things might have been like that for the first three, MAYBE 4 years, but that was it. At 5 we were chucked off to “Play School”, with a bunch of other uncoordinated accidents waiting to happen, and basically given the ammunition to wreak havoc.…

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Thing’s Ain’t What they Used to Be…

I’m not quite ready for my pine box yet, however I have been around long enough to watch a great deal of change in both things like technology (I was a proud owner of one of the first Binatone black and white pong machines and have been a gamer all my life), and the general zeitgeist in regard to pretty much most other areas of life. I was talking with my son a few days ago, prompted by a massive whine from him about him having to do chores. To put some perspective on this, he’s 11 years old and is expected to empty bins, unload and put away the contents of the dishwasher, grab the mail as he walks past on his way back from school, tidy his bedroom, playroom, bathroom (a child having their own bathroom! Not in 1970’s England we didn’t!), and setting the table for dinner.…

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Of Course We’re All A Bit Odd…

Warning! Younger readers or those not from the UK may think I am making up much of the following. A brief trip round Google and YouTube will prove otherwise! People often comment that I have a somewhat strange perspective on life, however I have noticed that many people around my age are replete with all kinds of strange quirks and character traits. Of course you could put this down to being a result of the ageing process, gaining life experiences and getting things into perspective. More recently however, prompted by mental journeys back into childhood in order to have content for this blog, I have begun to think that there may actually have been more sinister forces afoot. A dark government (or even bigger) plot, to carry out some kind of consciousness alteration experiment on a whole generation. I refer of course to children’s television of the 1970’s. I believe…

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Classic Kids At Play 1970’s Style (Part One)

In today's GenForward Living Legacy blog I will touch on another conversation that comes up regularly with my son, which is about the kind of things we had as kids in the dark ages, which is apparently when I grew up. Casting my mind back I can think of several items that topped out lists to Santa. These were mixed in with the usual  present from some random ancient relative that we’d never met, but who clearly had little idea what had gone on in the world of children’s toys since the invention of the top ‘n’ whip, plus the, “parents trying to buy things to encourage creativity” type gifts. I still try this one myself today, should know better really. As a child I pulled the heads off my Fuzzy Felts Nativity set and ate most of my Pay-Doh because it smelled so good, so why I expect my son…

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Classic Kids At Play 1970’s Style (Part 2)

To follow on from part one, we're now back for part two of my GenForward Living Legacy article about toys I grew up with:   Ok, lets leave Steve behind and go onto another staple of the era. I was also lucky enough to have one of these and we used to run riot with it. There wasn’t a piece of furniture that didn’t have chunks out of it’s legs thanks to my next favourite, the legend that was Evel Knievel! In short, the most heroic bloke on the planet. Every small boy wanted to be him. Off the scale cool, when “cool” was still cool. And just like our real life hero, every time you wound up his miniature double, there was a huge chance that it was all going to end up in a horrific accident. Let’s face it, it really wasn’t our fault. The whole purpose of the the thing…

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God And Other Opinions

As I am writing more and more for these Genforward Living Legacy Genealogy blogs, I am becoming aware of the fact that, for good or for bad, I am putting a lot of my personal opinion out there in the world. That being tha case, I thought that it would be wise to make it clear how I veiw opinions, including my own, and the spirit in which I would like the opinons I publish to be taken. Ok, lets start on some really dodgy ground...... I was not brought up in a particularly religious fashion. My mother was Catholic, but I wouldn’t say practicing. We went to church for Christenings, weddings and funerals. I did the odd stint at Sunday school and I did have a reasonable grasp of my bible stories as a child. If pushed, I would say I am a non believer, but only if pushed. I…

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Thousand Year Old Playground

  Ok, today on my GenForward Living Legacy genealogy blog I’m going to touch on a combination of some memories from my childhood, along with a bit of history regarding the place I come from. I am doing this because it seems that the place I come from has recently hit he headlines in the UK press regarding the ruination of a historic site. Seeing the photos of this really brought back a bunch of memories for me so as I say, I’ll go into a bit about my memories in relation to this place as well as a bit of history (as it’s something I like anyway). I come from a town right on the Norfolk/Suffolk borders in the area of the UK known as East Anglia. It’s an area that may well be familiar to people who are serving or have served in the USAF as there are two…

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To Challenge Or To Censor

Today on my GenForward Living Legacy genealogy blog I am talking about one of my great loves, the movies. I started out just talking about TV as we were growing up (I’ll go back and finish this one another time), but as I moved onto my life in the late 70’s and early 80’s and started to talk about things we watched, the article ended up being a much broader overview of censorship and what children are exposed to, and how this has influenced how I treat my son today:   Once we got out of the early 70’s and into the early 80’s the world really began to open up with the mass advent of the Video Recorder. In the UK, the establishment just wasn’t ready for the video recorder. I recall clearly that the “pirating” of videos was commonplace, and there was basically no certification. My mum used…

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I’m His Father, Not His Friend!

I was reading an article this morning in the UK press about how liberal parenting and a desire of father’s to be their son’s best friend, is harming the development of teenage boys today by effectively transferring authority from the parent to the child, personified by a “Yes, but what am I supposed to do about it” attitude when the child acts up (link enclosed at the end of this piece). By the time I’d finished reading, I felt like I had just read something I had written myself, and thought that I'd use the piece as a springboard for another story of my life on today's GenForward Living Legacy Genealogy blog. I do not want to be my son’s best friend. It’s not my job. My job is to be his father. An appropriate role model, who provides discipline, boundaries, and as he matures, a roadmap for him as…

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Draft Week: Football Addiction, A Precautionary Tale

Draft week is finally here!! As a result I’m going to spend a bit of time on today’s Genforward Living Legacy genealogy blog talking about the guts and the glory that is, the best sport on earth. Although I originate from the UK, I am really not a fan of British football (the one where you actually use your feet). In my younger days, I did go to matches occasionally and must confess to following Spurs in the golden era of Hoddle, Waddle, Ardiles and Villa (google some of the goals, really). The game in the modern era has just become far too soft for my tastes, plus lets just say, it’s been a fairly painful experience following the England national team over the decades (a set of emotions perfectly personified in the truly brilliant movie, Mike Basset, England Manager). No, despite being from the right side of the pond,…

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Why It’s Hard For Kids To Be Free (Incorporating “Texas Rules Of The Road”)

In today’s GenForward Living Legacy genealogy blog I am touching again on the subject of encouraging independence in my son. This time I am looking at first of all, how things were when I grew up and how that let me grow gradually in independence and self reliance. Secondly I am looking at the reality of our lives today, and how living where we do actually puts up some barriers to this kind of organic growth in my son’s life: I have written in the past several times on the subject of how kids today seem to be far less independent that we used to be back in pre-history when I was growing up. I have to face the fact that despite all of the efforts we might make to poke my son into standing on his won two feet and spreading his wings a bit, the issue of independent mobility…

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More Classic 70’s Children’s TV

in today's GenForward Living Legacy genealogy blog, I have the urge to write about some more of the children's TV we were exposed to in the 1970's:   I still remember to this day standing outside the local cinema in the queue in 1977 waiting to watch Star Wars and simply not realising what was about to happen to the world. As a small boy, film and TV had a big influence on me, and some of my strongest memories of childhood revolve around TV shows and movies. I really don’t know how to compare it to today though as I was brought up in kind of a cross over period (1970’s-1980’s) for TVs and movies. In the UK we had three TV channels. That’s your lot. Whilst it wasn’t quite such a big deal to own a TV, most people only had one and we’re talking maybe 21 inch…

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More Music Memories – 90’s

Given that I got so carried away with the last GenForward Living Legacy genealogy blog post about the music I grew up with and that formed the theme tune to my life, I found that it really needed to be split into multiple parts. First off I hit up the 80's which really represented my teenage years, now I'll move into the 90's when I was striking out in life on my own and slowly coming to terms with being in my own skin. The 90's as a whole were a bit of a mixed bag when it came to music as a quick look at the UK top 20 singles of the 90's will tell you https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_singles_of_the_1990s_in_the_United_Kingdom , containing such treasures as "Wet, Wet, Wet", "Robson and Gerome", and lets not forget, "The Tellytubbies". Fortunately, I didn't really inhabit these waters when listening to music, and nor did my peers so hopefully we can steer…

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First Step To Independence….At A Price…

I am sure that those of you who regularly read my various rambling stories and rants on this GenForward Living Legacy genealogy blog, are more than aware of my ongoing struggle to get some more independence of action out of my son. Well, it was Mother’s Day in the USA yesterday (its on different dates in different places), and I saw the first signs that there’s a mind capable if independent thought and action in my son’s head. That, for me, was a big positive, but it did come at a cost. When I was a small boy, I never needed reminding of my mother’s birthday or mother’s day. From quite an early age, I would always make sure there was the appropriate gift delivered, albeit usually in a plastic bag, to her by my own fair hand. The form of this gift changed over the years. Very early on…

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Confessions Of A 40 Year Gaming Addict (Part 1)

In today’s GenForward Living Legacy free genealogy blog, I’m going to delve back into a subject that is still a big love of mine to this day. “My name is Tom, and I’m a gameaholic”. I’ve never really been clear of it, but now am old enough to not let the problem get in the way of real life. Sadly this hasn’t always been the case. It’s obviously something my son has readily picked up on as ever since he was small there’s been multiple different consoles and computers about to game on. I do enforce time limits on him though, sadly something that was never really done with me: Some weeks ago I put out a couple of articles about the toys we had as kids growing up in the 1970’s and early 80’s. It was a really interesting time to be growing up as there was a lot…

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Sweet Treats And Cigarettes

In today’s GenForward living legacy free online genealogy website blog, I am casing my mind back to the days of my childhood and looking at some of the sweets and snacks that we grew up with and loved as kids, some of which are still around, but some of which would no longer be considered politically correct: I have always had a bit of a soft spot for coconut. The first of my personal favourites from childhood is one the certainly falls under the not politically correct heading. Spanish Gold was basically kind of crunchy sugar coated coconut strands. All exceedingly unhealthy I’m sure but the main issue was it was packaged and sold to represent chewing or rolling tobacco. I loved the stuff and to be fair I’m really not sure how much of an effect the tobacco advertising element really had on me. First off, if you eat…

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Classic Children’s Looks From The 70’s And 80’s

In today’s Genforward free online genealogy website blog I thought I’d take a look at some of the fashion items that being back memories, a subject my son had been asking about recently since he has been given a bit of freedom in choosing his own clothes etc. now. Some of these items are from childhood, some from teenage life (when things really get messed up as far as any sense of style goes!). Anyway, hope some of these bring back a few memories for you: Ok, so the 1970’s and 80’s weren’t exactly a hotbed of couture style. What with the punk era, new romantics and goths to contend with, dress sense could go a bit out of the window when left in the hands of impressionable children like us. Let’s start with a classic from the days of school......... Yes, the cutting edge child’s athletic footwear of the…

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More ways the 70’s child invented to cheat death

I just recently posted what at the time was a flippant comment on a post about how we basically didn’t do health and safety growing up in the 1970’s. It reminded me of a previous article I had written and also set my memory running onto other stuff that we used to do as kids without giving it a second thought. My son also finds these stories hilarious so time for another one I guess in today's Genforward free online genealogy website blog:   Now let me start by saying, I’m a believer in kids being kids and getting up to stuff and into scrapes generally. It’s a part of growing up as far as I’m concerned. We certainly did it aplenty in the 70’s and most of us survived to adulthood as relatively rounded human beings. These days though, there does seem to be a massive dose of over-protection…

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10 Signs You’re Probably A Child Of The 70s

Today in the Genforward free online genealogy website blog I thought I’d just keep it simple and look at some of the things that for me really defined my childhood during the 70’s:   You know you’re a child of the 70’s if: 1)      Knee protectors meant skin   2)      Some Of These Plus one of these Made this Into one of these   3)     You consider this to be commercial grade safety crash airbag suitable for safe landings from all heights (also note the correct location for sourcing these items)     4)      You were given these to play with as opposed to being arrested for carrying them as a weapon   5)      This was a gun with which you could lay waste to the Nazis (hey, it was the 70’s)   6)      When not on you bike, this could be considered transport   7)      This was a mobile phone…

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