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Guest Opinion

When I look at society, I say “This isn’t progress.”


As I am fast approaching my 77th year on Earth, I find myself reminiscing from time to time about the good old days and how simple life seemed to be when I was a boy growing up. I look at what the world has become and am scared to death of what it will be like when my grandchildren reach my age.

Please allow me to take you on a trip down memory lane and, for those of my age, I hope it will also bring back some happy memories.

Unlike most mothers today, my mom was a housewife, and loved her job. The house was always clean, the shopping done before Dad came home from work, and there was always a home-cooked meal on the table. She was always there when I came home from school. Sadly I don’t think that is the case in many families today. I had my chores to do each day. There were rules to follow and we all went to church on Sunday and said grace before dinner. I wonder how often that happens today in households.

In my younger years when coming home from school, my friends and I were always outdoors riding our bikes or at the park down the street playing ball. I don’t see much of that anymore with kids on their social devices at home and such. Isn’t exercising a better idea?

When we addressed police officers, clergy, school teachers and elders it was always with “yes sir” or “yes ma’am.” Good manners were always a must. Don’t see as much of that today

I had a summer and after-school job when I was 15 for a dollar an hour to learn responsibility. A lot of the kids in the neighborhood did the same. I wonder how many teens do that today.

At night during the summer months families would gather on the front porch on our block with the radio blasting music or a ballgame while we kids played in the streets and waited for the ice cream truck. So much fun. I don’t see much of that today.

From time to time there would be a dispute at school or in the neighborhood with us kids. Usually about our favorite baseball team or a girl. We would come home with a bloody nose and a lesson learned. End of story. Nowadays a gun or knife is pulled. How did it ever come to this?

When a note was sent home from the teacher that I might have misbehaved or was not doing my schoolwork well I was punished. Now I’m told parents think the teacher is at fault. Where did that come from?

It doesn’t help that in the United States one in four children are now born out of wedlock. It is hard enough to raise kids these days with two parents at home.

When I was lucky enough to go on to college it was a great experience, where ideas were shared with kids from different backgrounds. Universities welcomed lecturers with different ideologies than students on campus so we could learn how to get along and discuss different points of view politically and socially. Today I read where that is hardly ever the case and students protest if a speaker will appear if they think differently then they do. How do you learn by protesting and not listening to others?

When I graduated from college, I left home, got a job, soon after got married and had a family. Now I see in so many cases, when young adults finish school they are not able to get out on their own, can’t find a job in the field they studied in, and are burdened with massive student loans. To make matters worse they will increase that student loan debt by going for their masters degree because they can’t find a job that suits them. There has to be a better way for our kids to succeed.

Getting back to the good old days we didn’t have the so-called “advantages” of modern technology. We were taught to communicate verbally face to face. To solve our problems and socialize in person. We didn’t need an iPhone in our hands to answer a question or find a solution. We worked together and solved our problems in the workplace, not on a computer at home.

I could go on with this, but by now I think you get the point. You may ask who am I to preach, but the way I see it this is not progress when it comes to our precious kids’ future. There is a valuable lesson to be learned from those good old days and how we did things then and it is not too late to make some changes. Nothing worthwhile is easy.

Our kids are worth it.

Larry Whitlow lives in New Hope.

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