Respect crucial at all age levels
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.