Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rebellion Then and Now...

 It is the duty and age old custom of older people to complain about the youth of today.  This has been done since before Socrates's time, my parent's generation were critical of Elvis Presley and the Beatles, and now it is my turn.  I still have part of my youth within me and have always been suspicious of any people, any generation that thinks they got it right.  I am plenty critical of my own generation, think we have muddled along strewing a path of garbage along the way.  We have created an era of "entitlements" where we think so much is owed to us.  All along this garbage littered path we have sought more and bigger and we have never paused to find a sense of direction, to wonder where we really are, to find our bearings and get an idea of where all this leads.
   We make choices that have controlled our behavior.  We have made choices that affect our children.  It seems that we have dug a hole so deep our only solution is to pass the shovels and encourage other's to dig deeper.  It takes two now and has for some time to get "our share", to fill our need for more and bigger and better.  No one is home when the kids get home from school.
   School is the institutional implementing of our ideals.  There we want bigger and better and more too.  We do this by subtraction.  We eliminate the arts, theater, literature, history.  We add computer technology and math and science.  We teach that wealth is the measure of success.
   Rebellion is a good thing.  Without stirring the pot we would all be living in ancient Rome and things would always be as they were.  Without the guide and gentle mentoring, without the learning of past rebellions, without music and art and literature rebellions can become self destructive, an invasive disease.
   I think in the past, youth, our next generation, didn't always like the world as it was offered them.  Today, I don't think they like themselves.  In our youth, where we might ride a "freedom bus", join the Peace Corps, run away to a Parisian cafe to write bad poetry, the worst we did was not to participate.
   Today, it seems, so many are hell bent on self destruction, self mutilating and destruction of brain cells by the millions.  It is one thing not to like the world; it is totally another to not like yourself.  The world had always had lots of room for criticism, a million ways to improve it.  The difference today is a loss of empowerment.  I think young people feel as though they can't improve it.  It is this loss of hope that leads to despair and ultimately to self destruction.  Many people in prison commit suicide.
   The irony of this is that it is so easy to fix.  It is not expensive.  It begins with a shared altering of the environment.  It can begin with doing the dishes.  NOT you do the dishes because I am tired or any other excuse, but let's do the dishes together!  Let me help you or even better, I need your help!  Not only does the kitchen get clean but an opportunity for discussion and communication arises. Where we got the idea for different tasks for different people is beyond me.  It is always a direction for isolation.  It is always an opportunity for an excuse.  It is not my job!
   Not my job is an abdication of power.  When I was a school teacher it always amazed me that a school might have 2,000 students, over a hundred teachers and dozens of administrators and you discover that the hallways need painting!  No one can find time or inclination or a gallon of paint to improve their environment?
We have no power, youth is right about that.  We have given it all away.
My other blog is Here.


T.K. said...

I have to agree with you, we have lost our power in this country and a sense of community is probably all we need to get it back. But I think people will get it back here one day.

Look what's going on in the middle east the youth has become fed up with their loss of power, the loss of power of their parents, and they are pulling together to become empowered for the first time in their lives.

AutumnLeaves said...

I agree with you as well, Jerry.