Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Revisiting the Summer of Love (or The Legacy of the Hippies)

Posted by michele@thinkmarriage.org

Depending on your age, you may or may not remember the Summer of Love as it was dubbed by the media four decades ago. Ask anyone today what a “hippie” is…and they could give you some kind of definition. The flocking of people who had been congregating in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury area to the Golden Gate Park for the Human Be-In is greatly affecting you and me to this very day, especially if you are a Marriage Champion for healthy marriages!

How so, you say?

The Summer of Love actually began in Jan. of 1967 with the Human Be-In, but it’s what brought the media’s attention to what was happening out in whacky old California! As news of the happening spread across the nation (remember, this was pre-blog, pre-internet, pre-cell phones…pre texting!) people headed for the good times out in sunny California. (Never mind, that San Francisco’s weather is totally different and quite cool in the summer…) Even a song playing on the radio (probably a little transistor) was calling the country to head West.
San Francisco(Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)
When word got out what was happening, the news crews arrived…and so did the beginning of a social movement.

Now that I have you humming that song….remember it was the time of:
the commune,
free love,
love the one you’re with
the Vietnam War and President Lyndon Johnson
and saying hello to what had previously been seen as taboo. This culture wanted to be the counterculture.

Everything the “establishment” believed went out the window.

In June the Monterey Pop Festival featured the stars of the Love culture…the Byrds, Jefferson Airlplane, the Who, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and the Mamas and the Papas…to name a few. Hippies were it.

Time Magazine’s cover read: The Hippies: Philosophy of a Subculture.

After the hype…came some of the stark realities.

Turns out “free love” had a price to pay along the way.

Many died from drug and alcohol overdoses, or continue to have long term issues from what was once thought to be harmless mind-expanding experiences.

The institution and sanctity of marriage began to be called “just a piece of paper.”

People believed lies about marriage and family, and children were damaged in the process.

I recently went to Haight-Ashbury on a trip to San Francisco. Now the kids who hang out on the streets are mostly “goth.” They are still pan-handling for cash as the hippies before them did, and are often run aways who live on the street. Still, most people remember the 60’s and that time as Woodstock, good times and the era when we were free. Hippies are remembered with nostalgia and a warm and fuzzy feeling of a beautiful time gone by, especially as baby boomers deal with the reality of hitting their 60's in age instead of era!

In retrospect, Hippies have become tye-dyed t-shirts, love beads and mostly a cartoon.

But the Summer of Love did change something very precious: the intact family and how we view marriage. That’s something the hippies started that we could have done without. With 20 years of social science reasearch we now know there is a recipe for healthy marriages, and it’s not free love and self indulgence.

Is it time for a new Summer of Love called healthy marriages and relationships?

Is it time to counter the counter-culture drowning in a divorce rate that hovers at 50%?

Can we start a social movement right here in Wisconsin?

We’re about to make available a fantastic new guide called the Marriage Myth-Buster Guide. Everyone who reads it can become a card-carrying Marriage Champion and join our social movement. This movement believes that no generation has to be a statistic because there are resources and classes that empower everyone to control the quality of their relationships.

We want people to once again see marriage for what it is: a “gold standard” to aspire to, a respected, valued and sought-after institution. That "piece of paper" is incredibly important to the well-being of children and families.

Ready to join us? Get your guide by emailing: info@thinkmarriage.org

Let’s redefine a new Summer of Love.

Now that would be groovy!

Just wondering….
Any old hippies reading this? (Once a hippy, always a hippy at heart?)
Anyone at the summer of love in California or have memories of the time to share?
Thoughts on the NEW Summer of Love?