That Young Fella
“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”
Who would you guess said that? A parent unhappy with their young one’s attitude and time spent on the computer? A politician? A juvenile court Judge? Perhaps a fed-up social worker or policeman talking about unruly youngsters these days?
Actually it was Socrates, the Greek / Athenian philosopher 469 / 399 BC. That’s a long time ago and not much has changed about the average assessment of young people.
For those of us who can honestly remember their own youth that Socrates statement may well and truly apply. It does for me.
I certainly did my fair share of boneheaded, and at times dangerous things. Drove my mother nuts at times. Was at other times rude and was never very good at taking orders for the sake of taking orders. Responded well to those who treated me with a little respect and courtesy but not to people or decrees just because it was expected.
Tremble and obey was never a perspective I took to, and neither do most young people.
As we grow older we tend to distance ourselves from the freshness and idealism of youth. We grow older, and as is often said, wiser. Or do we, most of us, simply grow old and give up?
Do we become a bunch of tremblers and obeyers? Not necessarily out of fear but simply and squarely because we couldn’t be bothered?
Does the path of least resistance become the preferred option for no other reason than it’s easy? It almost becomes a cloak of invisibility. If I don’t make waves they’ll leave me alone, life will be kind, peaceful and gentle?
Is it like the people who work hard all their lives, do well, kick goals and achieve then retire and soon after die? No reason to live.
Or is it just a feeble way out because life wears us out? Ego wins. We die before we get buried? Traipsing around some golf course, dragging a caravan up and down the highway aimlessly, mumbling wisdom’s like, Why bother. What can you do? It is what it is. And a myriad of other excuses we talk ourselves into.
Eventually, as mind dulls and softens we begin to regress, ending up in some retirement home waiting for death. Ain’t salvation grand!
American author and poet put the regression thing beautifully when he wrote:
“The Little Boy and the Old Man
Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
I know what you mean,” said the little old man.”