The Old Coot learns the truth

I stumbled across two quotes recently. Both were comments about the youth of today and the dire effect their behavior will have on civilization.

#1 – “I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint.”

#2 – “The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no respect for their parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone know everything and what passes for wisdom in us, is foolishness to them. As for girls, they are foolish and immodest and unwomanly in speech, behavior and dress.”

You hear this kind of stuff all the time when you eavesdrop on a group of my old coot brethren. We think the world is going to pot. Every time one of us says something similar to the quotes above, we say, “Right on!” – “Couldn’t have said it better myself!” 

The other day, I read these quotes to a group of old guys I sometimes get together with and got the response I expected, “Right on!” That’s when I sprung the trap and revealed that the first quote was from Hesiod, a poet born 700 years before Christ, the second from Peter the Hermit, who lived in the 11th century. 

It shut them up. It shut me up the first time I learned how ancient these opinions of youth are. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, to realize that people in every generation think “today’s” youth are unfit to move civilization along a positive path. My generation is no different, no wiser than the adults who thought so little of us. They claimed that modern society is doomed because of our “insane” love of rock & roll music, the jitterbug, pegged pants, weird hairstyles and disrespectful attitudes. We were exactly like the kids we now so vocally criticize today. And, we are now, exactly like the old fogies who once criticized us. Ironic, is it not? Life goes full circle and us old coots are headed for the end of our 360-degree loop. How will the world survive without us?

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