Having been born in 1945, I am a proud Baby Boomer. I’m a part of what many, including myself, consider ‘The Greatest Generation.’
We were poor—like in ‘nary a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of.’ We learned more life lessons than I can list, but I will attempt to name a few.
We learned the importance of family. We loved our family and friends and weren’t afraid to show it. Neighbors looked out for each other. Today, many folks don’t even know their neighbors' names.
We learned to respect others and ourselves. We learned the value of hard work. One thing that particularly stands out is remembering how when we wanted something very bad and had to work hard to earn the money to buy it. It gave me the satisfaction of knowing what I was able to accomplish by working hard for something. I also know that I appreciated and took care of what I had purchased because I knew what it took to get it. Maybe this is a lesson that can be rejuvenated for our current generation.
We were safe to play outdoors. After chores (is this a generational thing) were done, we played outdoors until it was almost dark. We didn’t have cell phones, but we knew when to be home.
We used manners. Being disrespectful in school earned licks at school and a butt whipping when we got home. Acting out could cause a paddling by a neighbor. Parents, for the most part, felt that misbehavior earned discipline regardless of who administered it.
Please, thank you, you’re welcome, I’m sorry, yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, no ma’am were a big part of our vocabulary.
I, at the age of 72, often yearn for the ‘good old days.’ We didn’t have or need welfare or food stamps. Neighbors shared from their gardens or hen house. We did have commodities, and who can forget the powdered milk, powdered eggs or spam!
We ate what was put on the table or we didn’t eat. There wasn’t a fast food joint on the corner for us to go to — if we even had the money to go there.
Now that I’ve relived the past for a few minutes let me tell you a little about how I feel about today’s world. There is too much hatred and not enough love for our fellow Americans. Loving someone and telling them you love them isn’t against the law.
We are, in many ways, and in my humble opinion, an ungrateful nation. We are quick to complain about things, often trivial things, but we are slow to show gratitude. Sometimes we never show gratitude.
Please, thank you, you’re welcome, and I’m sorry are among the most wonderful but also the most underused words in the English language.
When did it become beneath us to show gratitude for a job well done? To this day, if I receive good or great customer service, whether in person or over the phone, I thank the person giving that service.
In closing, I want to leave a few thoughts and/or suggestions. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Learn to say thank you for good service and enjoy the smile it brings to someone’s face and the good feeling that smile gives you.
Learn to respect that person who stares back at you in the mirror. Until you learn to respect that person, you will not respect others.
Pray for our leaders. Pray for America. Pray for one another.