“I see no hope for future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous (carefree, not serious) youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are disrespectful and impatient of restraint.”
Before you e-mail us with condemnation or before you propose that the tar and feathers be prepared, let us tell you that the above quote is taken from the Greek writer Hesiod who wrote the bitter criticism 800 years before Jesus was born. Now, almost 3000 years later it is not uncommon to hear similar comments about our young people, and it is a safe bet that every generation from Hesiod’s to today’s have expressed similar feelings about the youth.
“That crowd of young ones today, my dear, they’ll never amount to anything. And brazen, well you’ve never heard such filth as what comes out of their mouths. And they’re too lazy to do anything”. This from a gentlemen in Hermitage in the late 1950s who lectured a group of boys on the road near the old post office – your writer here being one of them. He caught us being disrespectful to an older lady who caught us on her property when we were playing cowboys, and he didn’t tell us why we were wrong. Instead he told us why we were doomed, why there was no future for the country if we had to grow up and be adults.
The teenager of 2012 is a typical teen. Yes, they live in the world of computers, iphones, texting, and social networking, a world where many adults live as well. And yes, we (grandparents, parents, and teachers) have a long wish list for them.
We would like most of them to take more responsibility around the home, to make their beds, to clean the dishes and the floors, to ask what they can do to help. We would like some of them to be more serious about study and school, but no one has ever yelled with excitement because school was opening. Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet wrote about boys coming to school “with heavy looks”. We would like them to be in bed earlier on school nights and come to school eager to learn and become career bound. It’s a tough world out there; they need to be ready. And we certainly don’t want them to take up smoking since it is unhealthy and is such a hard habit to break. (We wonder how long the list was that our parents and teachers had?)
The list could be longer, but what’s the point? We may wish sometimes they were more like us, but that’s wishful thinking. We have to keep in mind what the poet Kahlil Gibran wrote in his poem “On Children”. He said to parents, “Strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you; for life goes not backwards nor tarries with yesterday.”
You know what, most of these teenagers are not a lost cause; they will sometimes torment the lives out of their parents and teachers, they will commit many youthful indiscretions, but they will be successful and will graduate high school and go on to find rewarding careers – the road may be long for them after they leave home. I reiterate that is it tough out there beyond high school, tough in getting a diploma or degree, tough financially, but they will overcome.
Then down the road those young people will have children themselves, children who will be another new generation, susceptible to all the opinions people like Hesiod had so many years ago.