I have mentioned the fact that I co-teach an osteoporosis weight-bearing class for seniors once a week. My co-teacher is a wonderful woman, she has a heart of gold and is very active in the local Council of Aging and she seems to have much more energy than I ever do. However I have noticed that in the past three years that I have been with the ladies, they are blaming more and more of the problems of the world on the young people. At first I never paid attention because my mother-in-law was in the group, she basically wrangled me into joining and when the then teacher decided to retire, for some reason my co-teacher and I were asked to take on the responsibility of leading the class and we both can’t say no so we have been the leaders ever since. We take our positions very seriously and I think that we do a good job of it. But having my mother-in-law in the class kept me from paying attention to what the ladies were talking about, my mother-in-law often dominated the conversation and my attention. However since she passed away, I have had more time to get to know the ladies and give them much more of my attention.
Back to the ladies,it has only been fairly recently that the collective blaming the young folk for the way society is breaking down has sunk into my brain and become something now that I can’t help but notice immediately. It used to slide off my back but the constant blaming has made me wonder if it was only my group of ladies or are all older folk prone to blaming the young folk for everything.
After thinking about this for a few days,I realized that I would never have the courage to challenge their thinking. They are much older and I do like them all very much even if I disagree fundamentally with their politics and their dismissal of how young people think and their worth.Yet thinking about it, I’ve come to realize that this issue has been bothering me for a while because a few years ago, I summoned the courage to say something to my local electrician when he was complaining about how the young folks of today don’t have any discipline and want everything handed to them on a silver platter, blah, blah, blah. He is older than I, but I have known him for a few years, so I felt very comfortable saying this to him; “Why are you complaining about the young folk like that when I know for a fact that your parents did the same thing to you when you were young and starting out and you probably felt misunderstood and persecuted.” He stepped back, looked at me for a minute and started laughing and said “You know buddy, you are absolutely right. I didn’t think of it that way”
When I think about saying the same thing to the ladies, I think of saying that “while you ladies are blaming the young folk for being lazy and expecting to be handed everything on a silver platter, the young folk aren’t the ones who put these policies into place that have produced a society such as this, this is your generations doing (that wouldn’t go over very well). What did your parents say about you ladies when you were young?” Now keep in mind that most of these ladies were born in 1935, so their parents were easily born in 1910, making life more difficult to navigate than in the relative modern times of the 1930’s.
Yet as we get older, do we do the same thing?, “when I was your age we didn’t have Xbox 360”. I am going to actively try not do this to my kids or any younger folk in general. I think that it is a little disrespectful to blame the young ones for not meeting your standards when they had no say in the cards that they were dealt. The only thing that I can hope for is that I have guided and taught my children how to adapt and become the best people that they can be. I’ll make sure that when I am a grandmother, I’ll regale the grandchildren with all the crazy and funny stories that their parents did when they were little. Being excited for the future also means being excited about the young people.