As is wont to happen when seven Baby Boomers get together, our conversation took a turn down the younger-generation-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket path. The word “whippersnapper” never came into play, but it might as well have.
Still, it was seven intelligent women, and so it wasn’t silly conversation. There were very few sentences that started “when I was a kid”, though, admittedly, the topic did come up. Instead, it was more along the lines of having observed that there seems to be a noticeable lack of person-to-person generosity and common good manners present in the generations following ours. And yes, we blamed it on the media and general social mores.
One woman told us about a story she heard on one of the national morning news programs in which a woman proudly touted her clever invention of a band one wore around ones head while feeding the baby that held a cell phone playing a children’s program. It kept the child’s intention captured and his/her imagination bound as tight as a tick. What ever happened to Here comes the airplane into the hanger? Feeding my infant son was one of my most pleasurable experiences. It made up for all of the nighttime fussing, and almost made up for the nights I laid awake worrying when he was a teenager. Almost.
One woman spoke about the children’s programming she has seen on Disney Channel in which there never seems to be parents around, and when they are, they seem to be complete idiots. The same holds true for any kind of adult figures. It’s no wonder the younger generation feels so entitled. From their observations, there is no one who will tell them no.
The subject of all-kids-receiving-participation-trophies never came up.
I left the lunch feeling somewhat downcast, wondering if we really are going to hell in a handbasket. How do we get a handle on this, I wondered.
And what occurred to me is not the answer to the problem. It’s bigger than that. But I began thinking about just what little ol’ me could do to address this situation. The answer, I thought, was modeling.
Don’t worry. I didn’t suddently decide that I should put on a bikini (God forbid) and start a modeling career. But I can practice what I preach. I can be kind. I can be patient. I can be generous. I can say please and thank you. I can open doors for others. I can let people into my lane when driving. I can let harried mothers go in front of me at the grocery store. Bottom line: I can model a gracious spirit, not just to my grandkids and great nieces and great nephews, but to my environment at large. Maybe I will impact someone. Maybe someone will be thankful for me and pay it forward.
Or maybe it won’t do a bit of good. But it certainly feels more empowering than feeling dejected by the world around us.