I have seen a lot of changes in the world around me since I was a child in the 60s and a teenager in the 70s. Many technological advances have made life easier — and more difficult at the same time. We would never have dreamed that cell phones would be a way of life and that anything we wanted to know we could find out from “Google”. I remember using rotary phones and having “party lines”, where you share the phone line with another household. I am telling my age for sure now!
We watched cartoons like “The Jetsons”, TV shows like “Lost in Space”, and the more futuristic and serious “Star Trek”. We believed that ideas portrayed in these shows were way ahead in the future; certainly not something we would experience in our lifetime. But here we are, carrying computers with us everywhere. Knowledge right at our fingertips.
Sometimes I wonder, though, if we have lost some really basic and fundamental skills, especially young people of today. My grandmother always said that “ Each generation is Weaker but Wiser.” I feel that this is true to the extent that children of today seem to have more physical ailments such as allergies, asthma, diabetes etc. than children did 50 years ago; yet they can operate a cell phone from the age of two!
I know that each generation of new parents wants to give their children more than they had, and an easier life as well. Perhaps we have been too focused on making things easy and accessible for our children when they would have learned some better life lessons if we held them more accountable and made them “Earn” their material possessions. I have seen many teenagers today being absolutely dismayed at the idea of getting a job or actually working and having some responsibility. Many of them quit a part-time job or drop out of college as soon as things begin to get a little “rough” and they are unable to handle it.
Nothing in the world builds character and strength like actually working for something and earning our reward for that hard work and sacrifice! I am constantly telling my grandchildren and great nieces and nephews that the more you do, the more you will feel like doing because that sense of accomplishment spurs you on and makes you even more determined to finish a job and shoulder your responsibilities.
Values such as honesty, accountability, responsibility, kindness and respect to and of others should never be considered outdated and old fashioned! I feel that these values should be of utmost importance in our young people’s education today. Combine values like these with the intelligence and knowledge at children’s fingertips today and there is no end to what they can accomplish!!