I was struck by several of the points that Patrice makes in this column. For example, Patrice wrote, "Fifty years ago, manners and courtesy were drilled into children from infancy. That practice began its decline in the '60s, and it's been downhill from there." I have to agree with Patrice that the turning point was in the 1960's, especially somewhere during the latter half of the decade. There was a lot of social upheaval - chaos - from about 1967 to 1972. And everything changed.
If you are an old "fuddy-duddy" like me, you may have the same reaction that I experienced when reading this column. One of my first thoughts was that the spontaneous combustion of the Occupy Wall Street movement is made up with a bunch of dumb-downed useful idiots that were easily manipulated to be the foot soldiers in the "American Autumn." Or should that be the "American Fall"? (Or the "American Fail?")
Do those of us that respect others, that have some decency left, still outnumber those that don't? I'm pretty sure that we do. I do not disagree with the assessment in this column in that there is a disgusting number of people that just don't care about their ability to contribute positive influence on our society. There are not a lot of hard workers like Steven Jobs available at the moment. There is influence from the media, and from the schools, that tend to make some want to rebel against authority, especially the authority of parents. I'm not sure that we can blame parents for the problems we are facing.
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A fuddy-duddy speaks on the generation gap
By Patrice Lewis
September 30, 2011 ~ 2:49 pm Eastern
A seemingly minor incident happened this week, which left me thoughtful.
I was in the city with my younger daughter. We needed to swing into a post office to mail a letter. The post office had a dedicated lane in its parking lot for cars to drive up to the mailboxes. The street was busy so I needed to swing into the parking lot quickly, not slowly … except I couldn't, because two teenage boys were walking across the driveway.
Well, can't be helped. They were there first, after all, and pedestrians have the right of way.
Except they wouldn't move. They deliberately stopped and just stood in my way, so that my car stayed half in the street, blocking traffic.
After a few moments one of the boys moved, but the other started walking toward the car as if daring me to run him over. He wasn't being threatening or dangerous. He was just being a jerk.
I managed to pull the car to one side and nip past him, and that was that. I mailed my letter and drove away. In my rearview mirror I saw them laugh. The incident left me fuming.
The boys were the typical teenagers we often see these days – slouching, insolent, eyes half closed in a perpetual sneer at life. The one boy's reaction to my presence – I dare you to run me over – was spontaneous and arrogant.
"If this is the future of America," noted my 13-year-old daughter, "we're doomed."
My anger turned to sadness and concern. Multiply these boys by millions, and you do indeed have the future of America. These boys had no sense of social courtesy, no understanding of civic consideration and apparently no desire to obtain either. Get a bunch of these types of kids together, and the situation is ripe for flash mobs and other social chaos.
I realize this sounds like the classic fuddy-duddy generation-gap thing, but in point of fact I'm not the only one to note the changing face of young people in our society. Fifty years ago, manners and courtesy were drilled into children from infancy. That practice began its decline in the '60s, and it's been downhill from there.
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