Stumbled on this quote recently and it started me thinking. (Hey, living by myself with my social life somewhere between dramatically reduced and non-existent, I have plenty of time for thinking.)
“The children now love luxury; they have contempt for authority and love chatter in place of exercise. They contradict their parents and tyrannize their teachers.”
There was more and I’ve paraphrased a bit but you get the gist. I don’t know about you but my childhood was largely spent playing outside with other kids until dark. Seems today technology has replaced that. For many, smart phones, social media and video games all create an existence without as much person-to-person communication or even contact.
This increased self absorption has helped create a generation with a very different set of values. Its self-focus suggests Millennials think the world owes them something. Examples of this and even comedy sketches about it are everywhere. Combined with the nonstop distraction of today’s lifestyles, the capacity to focus on an issue is severely compromised. Even as toddlers, Sesame Street, a well designed and well meant educational television show, had an image change every 2.2 seconds. And we question where lack of focus, concentration and increased examples of attention deficit came from?
Then these Millennials enter a society that values multi-tasking, although it’s clearly proven to reduce efficiency, which fits nicely into the life of the easily distracted.
So patience, that wonderful secret of nature, is diminished and devalued.
All this is evident not only in the young folks we know and love but also recently in the more youthful voices of public policy: Medicare (not even solvent while offered to a segment of society) For All, a multi-billion dollar investment in Green technology to offer some unclear unproven environmental future protection, Free College, a Guaranteed Income for all individuals…
Street protests and demonstrations demanding change are met by enforcement of the rule of law. All this craziness makes where we’re heading pretty scary. It’s just not based on logic or reasonable critical thinking.
We’re the only developed nation to not guarantee All our citizens some form of healthcare or at least health insurance. The climate change deniers are diminishing as it becomes apparent to more of us that whether or not humans caused it, is irrelevant. The fact is our children and grandchildren are going to pay a heavy price for our failure to find ways to address it. Free college and guaranteed income I’ll have to leave to some young sage to justify.
Just in my short lifetime, the street demonstrations for change have been far more violent and prevalent. I’m sure the hip-gyrating Elvis was a bit unsettling to my dad’s preference for the big band music of Benny Goodman. Hippies and shaggy-haired Beatles surely forecast a downward slippery slope. The marijuana primarily introduced by our troops returning from a strongly protested war in Vietnam was one example of a generation gap far more apart than today’s.
As older conservative traditionalists, we have acquired more to protect in the status quo, so as we age and accumulate, we understandably look to established and proven solutions as new challenges inevitably arise.
But it takes the excessive Idealism of youth to boldly challenge established conventions. Progress and improvement require new and therefore unproven changes.
Simply, 2035 represents the prime of their lives. And while I fully expect (OK, hope) to be here, it surely will not be in my prime years. I accept it’s a lot more relevant to them than to me.
Rx: I plan to listen more to the young voices.
A couple of thoughts in closing:
1. A fire needs new wood. But it also needs the energy from the embers and plenty of fresh air to continue.
2. That introductory quote was from somewhere in the 300s B.C. (Aristotle/Socrates).
These fears have been around for a while. If we work together, I think we’re going to be OK.