In our fast-paced, technology-oriented society more and more senior citizens are struggling to keep up with the changes. The world they see today is vastly different from the one they were raised in: a world without TVs and smart phones let alone gay marriage or legalization of marijuana. While many cultures honour the wisdom of their elders, the Western world seems to be rejecting the advice of senior citizens who are seen as "behind the times".
83-year-old writer Stan Hayward was asked on Quora "What would be your advice to today's and the future generation?" His answer is definitely worth reading.
"I am 83.
I don't think there is much advice an elderly person can give to a future generation that would be much use.
When I was young (as my grandfather used to say, and I thought I never would) things were different.
In my days:
1. If an electrical appliance stopped working you simply hit it or kicked it, and it would work (most times). Nowadays you throw it away.
2. You bought enough food for your needs, and rarely threw any away. Nowadays you buy more than you need because it is cheaper that way, and throw it away the day after the 'sell by date' is reached, irrespective of whether it will last for months more.
3. Boys learned to fix things and girls learned to repair things. Nowadays virtually nothing is fixable or repairable. It doesn't wear out, it simply goes out of fashion.
4. You had to earn your pocket money doing jobs for your family and neighbours. In the process you learned to put a value on your time, and what you wanted to buy. Nowadays your needs are what others have. You feel deprived if your gizmo does not do what someone elses gizmo does.
5. You had to entertain yourself. Movies were a treat and outings for special occasions. Nowadays it is reasonable to complain if the media does not supply you with regular entertainment, and mostly for free.
6. Having a regular job was considered a worthy goal. If it happened to be something you liked doing then that was an unexpected advantage. Nowadays a career and vocation are the expected starting points not the end points.
7. Relationships came with commitment. Not always working but implied and kept to often enough. Nowadays relationships come with a trial period, and return if not satisfied.
8. We had a sense of wonder. We sat up all night to see a man land on the moon. We marvelled at the first coloured TV. Instant photos were unbelievable. Nowadays giant leaps for mankind come second to celebrity gossip.
Having said that I would not go back to 'The Good Old Days'.
Senior citizens of today have seen the last of an era. We are the link between the time of our parents when the Work Ethic existed; when family ties were essential; when people 'knew their place' on the social scale; when your lifestyle was not much different from your parents; when hoping your children would have a better life, and you were prepared to sacrifice yours for theirs.
You may have lived with these ideas unquestioned, but your children did not, and your grandchildren never will.
The future generations will assume anything and everything is possible.
They will not be judged by wealth as all their needs with be catered for.
They will not be judged by color or creed as they will live in a global village.
They will not be judged by their social position as they will live in tribes of common interest.
They will be judged by their ability to offer and accept the love, care, and respect of others. They will devote much of their life to learning and sharing. They will find satisfaction in knowledge and companionship.
Of course, we elderly citizens have learned that those values are the true goals of life, but have also learned that telling this to the younger generation will not instil those ends.
They, like each of us, must learn them as we did, on the battlefield of life. What we have taught them is that we survived because those values were worth fighting for."
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