A while back, I asked older readers of the Inspiration Blog what life lessons they would want to pass on to the younger generation if they could. Today, I am very pleased to be able to publish the following response to that question from P.W. Walker.
The question, “what words of advice could the elderly pass to today’s generation?” – that got me thinking about just what could I tell them and would it make any difference?
My wife and I had four children though only one now remains; we have no grandchildren so who, I thought, would listen? Our daughter is well into her midlife and has her life all planned out and even she is not really completely open to my advice. But I have to say we are very proud of her. Maybe somewhere along the way we did something right.
So, I asked myself just what could I talk to the next generation about and I began thinking about the simple life we had. How about pride and patriotism for our country, I thought? What about living today and preparing for the future? How about having a sense of responsibility; a notion that we can and should contribute? Many times we may need a hand up – a little help – but never, should we rely on handouts. I feel like I have ‘been there and done that’ but never believed this was required.
My dad never relied on anyone else to take care of him and his family. He had that sense of responsibility; he came from a generation that accepted responsibility. Our means were meager but adequate. My life was a step or two above the life of my parents and that’s the way it should be. We pass on to the next generation the hope for a better life. Try telling your kids about the challenges and bumps in the road; to them that was the past. They now live in the present world and it is not that way anymore – and that is so true.
Today they/we are bombarded from every direction by the media trying to convince us to buy – spend, don’t worry about it, we have easy credit. The trouble is, by the time you get your purchase paid for, it’s worn out or needs to be replaced by something better. So now you buy, and spend again, only this time the prices have gone up and it takes even more to pay for it and so we can easily get caught in a vicious circle.
Today it seems someone else is in control of the teaching of our children; it seems that parents are too busy working, trying to buy material things for themselves and for the kids. What do we owe our children? A new car, a better education, all kinds of playthings? Do these things instill in them a sense of worth, responsibility or respect? Maybe I’m totally out of the loop, maybe I have outlived my time and whatever I could think about passing on to the younger generation does not apply to today.
I have lived in the past, and the values and principles of the past don’t seem to be respected anymore. We seem to be moving into whole new era of attitudes and standards. What happened to integrity, honesty and our core values; the sense of respect for others; even respect for our environment? Are we building up ourselves at the expense of others; perhaps even isolating ourselves to the point we don’t know, and more importantly care, about our neighbors?
Don’t get me wrong I’m not implying we should go back to the old days. I have come to rely on the modern things of today like computers, cell phones, GPS, whole house electricity and superhighways. But I wonder how we can level the playing field for the younger generation and generate equal opportunities so that they are free to move up and ahead to fulfill whatever potential they may as individuals have.
We may have been born equal but that doesn’t mean we will all end up equal. There is a top and a bottom it; always has been and will always be. But choice and opportunity should always be there
My question is: can we have all these things and somehow recapture the core values and principles that built our great country?
Article by P.W. Walker
What Life Lessons would you wish to pass on to the younger generation? Please do contact me if you would like your views published here.