Too Old To Know Much

Listening to the radio in the car, I wasn’t paying much attention to the program but when a rather irate young lady took the microphone to let the world know what her opinion of Brexit was, I found it very difficult to see her as being level headed or intelligent.

It was all the older generation’s fault that the country is due to fall dramatically into the pits of the unknown. It was the older generation trying to force their archaic ideas on a modern world that they didn’t have a clue about. … How I would like to have replied to her.

She thought she was clued up on how the country should be run, not yet out of university and she knew it all (I think that bit is all part of being at university). I wonder who paid for her education, would she have been supported by mum and dad. Did she have her own home, with a mortgage, a job, a husband, a family. She appeared to be more of the typical text book opinionated young person.

Perhaps we, the older generation, have made some very big mistakes, such as giving the world the mobile phone. People used to talk face to face with each other. Our generation also brought in the home computer which young folks, like their phones, they can’t live without. We got rid of poliomyelitis (polio) and it was our generation who started the NHS, but it seems to be the modern generation who are ruining it. We had a tightly run social benefits system which didn’t overindulge claimants, as they do now.

Many people will have appreciated the kidney dialysis machine, credit cards, contraceptive pill, satellite, video, modems, pacemakers, amongst many things the older generation instigated or invented, and not only did we invent the hovercraft, we even landed men on the moon.

I could have assured her, that being a war baby, I could still remember the austerity of war times. As children we were not wrapped in cotton wool, we were taught to respect our elders, be mannerable and if we were out of turn with anything, we could expect corporal punishment, not that I was a particularly wild child but our teachers were determined we would learn and I was often on the wrong end of the tawse. It did us no harm, we didn’t need a child psychiatrist.

As a teenager, I lived with my parents, in their house and with their rules. My curfew was 10.30pm. Young, single people did not get housing, they did not get benefits come to that, since their parents were still responsible for them. Often young married couples moved into a relatives spare room, collected whatever furniture they could from family and friends, and wedding presents often provided kitchen essentials as well as linen and any other needs which would go to make up a home. We saved to get anything we wanted, parents and grandparents weren’t so quick to open their wallets and credit was frowned upon and used only when absolutely essential.

Working wasn’t just as easy as it is now, there were plenty of employment opportunities but you most likely had to work your way up to a better position and loyalty to a company was held in high regard. Too many jobs and it was reckoned something was wrong or you may be thought as unemployable. If you weren’t good at your job, you could be sacked. Now that everyone gets trained only for exactly what they need to do, there follows a disjointed management. In my day, managers knew the business inside out, now it’s all done by text book and at times, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

There always has been single parents although our parent’s generation would have done anything to avoid the shame it brought to the family. The couple were encouraged to accept their responsibility for their actions. There wasn’t the open promiscuity displayed by many young folks of today.

I had all the worries and cares of bringing up a family on a shoestring budget, I didn’t buy convenience foods or take-aways, I cooked. I worked and saved and have a modest, but paid for, home. I’ve looked death in the face with the loss of a sister, daughter and parents amongst many close friends and family’.

From the eyes of the older generation, I see women going out to work leaving their children in someone else’s care and could be missing out the best years of their family’s life. My daughter was more important to me than money! I see houses which look more like pages out a house magazine and less like a home. Too much money getting spent, usually on frivolous things, and debts mounting. Children getting everything they want and seeing it as the parents duty to give them it, instead of earning it. I gave my daughter the most precious thing I could – my love and my time.

As one of the older generation, we have something, young people do not have and which they have to earn, and that is life experience. I don’t want to live in the past but I appreciate the values and the lessons I’ve learned though it, that’s why, whatever our opinions, we are still entitled to a democratic vote, we at least have earned it, and we don’t take it for granted.