I have heard this sentiment many, many times before. But whenever I hear or read something like this, it strikes me. I will save my feelings about media and toys for another post. For now, I want to talk about the fact that all of us who are here to tell about it "survived" our childhoods. There are grown-ups walking around with all sizes of emotional and physical scars inflicted by their parents, who can still say they survived. So I want to start there: just because someone survives his childhood, doesn't necessarily mean that his parents had it all figured out.
It is nice to appreciate the great things your parents did for you. But it's all right to acknowledge the ways in which you think your parents could have done better, if they had known better, and to try to do better by your own kids. It's all right to remember the things that made you feel bad when you were a child, and to try not to hurt your own children.
The other thing I want to address from the above quote is the idea that children should know their place, and should not disagree with or disobey parents.
Think about this: it was not long ago in our history that many women had no more freedom to choose a husband than children do to choose their parents. A woman went straight from having to obey her parents to having to obey her husband. I'm sure many "wouldn't dare say no or talk back" to their husbands. And these women "dealt with it," but that doesn't mean it was ideal. Women did not matter. Their needs, desires, opinions did not matter. And there are some places in the modern world where they still don't.
It's hard to imagine that in the United States, women were not allowed to vote until 1920, not even 100 years ago! Women fought hard to be considered full citizens. And all the while, there were whole organizations of women who were trying to block their efforts. Many were probably older women who said things like "I have always had no rights and I survived it." Amazingly enough, there are even groups of modern American women, who think that women should be absolutely quietly submissive to their husbands.
However you feel about feminism and women's rights, as a woman today you are the beneficiary of the efforts of the women who didn't take "I survived it" for an answer. You have rights.
We have come a long way as a nation in breaking down barriers based gender and even race. Age is just another barrier. So maybe a world in which a child's needs, opinions, and tastes are considered important does not look like the world in which some of us grew up. But it looks like progress, to me.
Parents who believe that children are fully people, and treat them accordingly, looks like progress. Parents letting kids choose what to eat for dinner looks like progress.
Children cannot choose their parents. But parents can choose to be the kinds of parents their children would pick if they could. We can choose to be the kinds of parents who want our kids to have much better things to say about their childhoods than "I survived."