MY DAY: Generational Maturity

A previous evening there was mention of lessening maturity with our young folks. I hear it, a lot. I read comments about “this current generation,” a lot.

The funny thing is I heard it while I was growing up, not from my mother or grandparents, it in public places. I worked at the public library and became associated with so many folks from my hometown of Indiana.

Three individuals clearly stand out in my mind who were always rapping on the current generation and how it had become rude, lazy and thoughtless.

Wow. I thought we had been doing rather well.

My grandfather could be critical but I always noted the softening acceptance that took over. My uncles, high schoolers in the late 1960s and early 1970s, wore their hair longer like the other fellows. Grandpa grumbled but by the time I was in college a decade later and wore my hair long for shoes I was in, Grandpa never said a word. Neither did Grandma who loved my long natural curls.

Today I spent four hours on a college campus. I observed the young folks. They seemed polite, engaged, helpful when I asked questions, and seemed to have the many of the same qualities I remember students possessing from my Ball State University tenure.

Yes, I will look for the best, the good, and I do find it. If I were to look for the negative, or bad, I’m sure I could locate a healthy dose.

But why search for the bad to simply reassure one’s self that the succeeding generations are less capable, less intelligent, less observant. Maybe they see something my generation doesn’t see.

Age and experience is not an automatic ticket to owning the universe.

I remember getting into my grandmother’s car to go shopping with her. I turned on the car and rock music began blaring. Huh?

“I like to listen to what the kids like today.”

It was hard rock and not the strains of the Top 40, but nonetheless, I was intrigued.

Grandma explained that when Elvis was to debut on Ed Sullivan’s weekly variety show, ministers across the country were encouraging their parishes to boycott the Sunday night special. Elvis’ music was for the devil.

My grandparents refused to follow that line, remembering their own parents’ sniffing at Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, or Paul Whiteman – the popular artists from their teen years.

We all wish to hold on to our youth or at least fond memories of our youth; however, we cannot jeopardize current young generations by attempting to make our own generation look better.

I am all for this current generation. They appear to be a step closer to accepting diversity while media reports and studies indicate my generation and the preceding generation being less tolerant. This current, and future generation seems to be leading us further into a greater age of technology as my generation nears retirement. When I was born, we had personal reel to reel tape recorders. Right now, I am listening to Mozart’s REQUIEM on my cell phone.

It’s in the eye of the beholder, and maybe even in the love of the individual heart that we embrace the current generation. All generations have made adjustments for the upcoming generation; nothing has really changed except that those in my generation are the age our parents were when we were teenagers.

Bravo, Kids! Keep up the great work.

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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