Re­spect cru­cial at all age lev­els

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

If there is one thing that is ir­ri­tat­ing, it must surely be mem­bers of the older gen­er­a­tions of our so­ci­ety point­ing the fin­ger at young peo­ple for the many ills of the world.

How of­ten do we hear the phrase or some­thing sim­i­lar: ‘that’s young peo­ple for you these days’ or ‘it wouldn’t have hap­pened when we were kids’, or maybe ‘the younger gen­er­a­tion just doesn’t have re­spect’ and so on and so on. What a lot of bull­dust! Sure, we see of­ten see way­ward youth thumb­ing their nose at au­thor­ity, hav­ing a lack re­spect for prop­erty and peo­ple and gen­er­ally caus­ing trou­ble.

But turn a page in his­tory books and it quickly be­comes ob­vi­ous that this is noth­ing new.

What we need to do is re­mind our­selves that what we have to­day is the prod­uct of our past.

And just as im­por­tantly, what we’re do­ing to­day will in­flu­ence what hap­pens in the fu­ture.

Older gen­er­a­tions of every­day so­ci­ety, per­haps with­out them even re­al­is­ing, con­tinue to heav­ily in­flu­ence, pro­vide di­rec­tion and set the ex­am­ple for the next crop of cit­i­zens.

Ca­su­ally ob­serv­ing con­ver­sa­tions be­tween peo­ple aged per­haps 50 and up with teenagers work­ing in re­tail or fast-food en­vi­ron­ments in the Wim­mera and be­yond pro­vides fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween dif­fer­ent age groups.

The im­me­di­ate pre­dic­tion from many would be that in most cases a po­lite older cus­tomer will be con­fronted by a brash, un­car­ing youth with a dis­tinct lack of cus­tomer-ser­vice skills.

Yes, we all know this hap­pens. But what about the rude, blunt, ar­ro­gant and holier-than-thou ap­proach from some older cus­tomers who seem to de­light in or are obliv­i­ous to giv­ing young in­ex­pe­ri­enced work­ers a hard time?

If there was ever a pri­mary cause for us to adopt a mag­nan­i­mous ap­proach to deal with an is­sue in our so­ci­ety it must surely be in bridg­ing the gap be­tween gen­er­a­tions.

For those who don’t get it, it’s about be­ing gen­er­ous or for­giv­ing, es­pe­cially to a per­son of dis­ad­van­tage – and it works both ways.

This means we must make a greater ef­fort to teach the val­ues of re­spect from a young age.

But it also means be­ing able to have, as well as com­mand, re­spect af­ter a life­time of ex­pe­ri­ence.

As older peo­ple in the com­mu­nity many of us pon­der­ing about what makes the young peo­ple of to­day tick need only look in the mir­ror.

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