Lessons From The Greatest Generation

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Doing without.

My parents started a family during the Depression. My dad had already lost his job in the Cadillac garage in Chicago. So he sold his model Ford, bought an old truck, and sold vegetables off the back. Somehow he provided for my mother and several of my siblings in that little two room house.

My brother tells the story of how my mother would ask for a few extra pennies on Saturday, so she could make extra loves of bread to hand to the beggars who showed up at their door.

We couldn't be farther from a Great Depression, but it feels awfully bleak.

Perhaps it's worthwhile to look back to the really bad old days and remember some of the lessons the members of the greatest generation learned the hard way.

Like not buying things on credit…like living within your means…like saving for a rainy day, or even saving up to buy the thing you really wanted or really needed.

Old fashioned notions of course, but so smart in retrospect.
By Harry Smith


Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App