While doing research for a client today, I happened on an article about real estate past, present, and future.
It began with the fact that our early settlers lived in small cabins with no running water and certainly no electricity. Families with several children all ate, slept, and relaxed in one room. Beds were often propped up against the wall to make room for daytime living activities.
Then, as more prosperity came, homes were enlarged. Eventually bedrooms entered the picture. In the 1950’s many homes had 2 bedrooms – one for parents and one for children. Babies often shared the parent’s bedroom.
In many families, three or even 4 generations lived under one roof. I don’t know when it became a “rule” that grown children needed to move out, and that grandparents had to go to a retirement home rather than living with the family.
Now we’ve evolved to a place where each family member feels entitled to his or her own bedroom – but it’s not simply a bedroom. It is a living space, complete with television, telephone, computer, electronic games, and often its own private bathroom.
Unless Mom or Dad insists on family mealtime, family members don’t even have to see each other. In the 50’s families gathered to watch a favorite TV show – now everyone retreats to his or her own room to watch something different or to play on the computer.
Could larger homes that house fewer people be the reason why so many parents and children simply don’t connect?
Did larger homes with multiple bedrooms spell the end of conversations – connections – opinions shared – and advice both sought and given between the generations?
I grew up in a family with many generations in the same household. As a result, I heard my Grandmother’s stories of the early years in this town – and those are stories I cherish.
My children were also well-acquainted with both my Grandmother and my Mother, and their lives are richer for that.