..........or is old age dulling my understanding of what’s going on and my abilities to deal with it?
Annette attended a lunch with some of her contemporaries (mothers of children who attended the same schools as our children) to ‘honour’ the retirement of the kindergarten teacher who was much loved by our youngest daughter and who was consequently much admired by the various parents who came in to contact with her.
One topic of conversation during that lunch was are ‘today’s parents’ of young children different to the parents of Annette’s and her friend’s at the same age. While you would think that it would be completely impossible to generalise to such an extent her answer was surprisingly frank and emphatically – YES – there was a yawning chasm of difference between parent of 25 years ago and those of today – in her view – and she is a well educated, very intelligent and very perceptive woman.
Her view was that the parents she sees and interacts with today are, in comparison to Annette’s ‘generation’ of parents, extremely selfish, being very much focussed on themselves and their personal needs and wants and strangely indifferent towards their children to the point of being uninterested in them or actually actively indifferent towards them. (her quoted words as best as I remember them from the conversation).
It seemed a very forthright and surprising observation but, given the general kindness of attitude I had observed in my brief association with her and the ‘universal adoration’ of the children she taught as well as the mothers of those children who interacted with her quite a lot, she has a great deal of credibility in her views.
I basically understand that times change and that the human race didn’t get to dominate this planet by ceasing to evolve and adapt. However as Annette observed during this brief ‘and how was your day dear’ type daily catch up conversation she had observed very similar characteristics in her daily life from playing ‘socially competitive’ tennis against ‘girls’ 20 years younger than she is through a range of other activities and contacts. The common characteristic is that they cheat on line calls quite shamelessly and obviously in 'social' tennis matches, park their cars wherever it suits them irrespective of who else they block or otherwise inconvenience, are routinely late and.....it goes on and on.
I would have thought no more about it (except to perhaps reflect that as you grow older you have less tolerance for the ‘young’) but listening to the news on the car radio re-inforced the view that people generally have changed quite markedly from the last to the current generation. The news item wasn’t directly related – it was comments on the Russia – Georgia conflict referencing “Russian ‘hackers’ vandalising Georgian Government web sites in support of their country”. It obviously was of no interest to these people that by destroying the web sites and access servers of the Georgian Social Security operations and other such agencies they would cause hardship to those Georgian citizens who depended on those accesses either directly or by the personnel within those agencies to allow them to receive the benefits they depended on - how can a reasonable person do such a thing?
There can only be one answer to that - they aren't a reasonable person - they are a criminal menace.
When you actually think about it - it's pretty bad that idiots like George Bush or Tony Blair can decide to invade another country but having some psychotic 15 year old doing the same thing (and make no mistake the ability to cripple a country's computer systems is just as destructive as using cruise missiles to destroy the buildings they are housed in) is a nightmare. Of course those same Russian hackers could just as easily decide to do the same thing to the UK or USA government agencies and its only a short 'hop and a skip' away from the B grade movie scenario of acquiring and using the US nuclear missile launch codes.
It struck me that it was so typical of an apparently growing number of children/young adults today who think, and care, nothing about using the anonymity of the internet (and some basic technical skills) to mindlessly destroy things they have no real interest in (think of the damage done to computer systems all over the world by those same psychotic children developing computer viruses) nor have any benefit from destroying other than the fact that “hey – look at what I can do! I've really mucked up the lives of a whole lot of people I don't know".
Just like the stealing of movies, tv shows and music, and worse, making other people’s property (movies, TV shows and music) easy to steal by other people all of these things seem to add up into a very different society with very different ethics and understanding of ‘obligations’ than the ones that Annette and I grew up in and therefore became a part of.
Perhaps our daughter’s kindergarten teacher’s views on the change in parental characteristics over the past 25 years directly translates in to the actions and attitudes of the uncaring and totally anti-social vandals and thieves that now increasingly permeate the internet? Their parents showed no real care or respect for them and they directly translate this in to no need to show any care or respect for other people?
……..or have I just given these …..holes yet another excuse for their anti-social behaviour - "it's all my parent's fault"?
"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."
What also has happened over the past 25 years is that women now go out to work instead being the home mum who looks after the children and basically provides the anchor which holds a loving family stucture together.
Child minding centres are not a substitute for good parenting.