Since man has walked upright, grownups have griped over the behavior, attitudes and ungratefulness of youth, spouting the reputed “kid’s today!” Even the fifth-century, renowned reasoner Socrates, father of Western philosophy, and teacher lamented over adolescent Athenians thousands of years ago, expounding, “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs and tyrannize their teachers.”
I’m not sure why crossing one’s legs was egregious to Mr. Socrates but I suspect it may have something to do with the precarious nature of tunics. Nor am I a scholar on the adolescents of Ancient Greece, but, if Socrates was correct in his assertions, I can avow with authority that young people today have not changed much. They chat and gobble up dainties and contradict their parents. They cross their legs and–having first hand knowledge–tyrannize their teachers.
They also go to great lengths to make the ones they love happy and take great pleasure in doing so, especially the adults in their life.
So, I call my fellow elders to rebel against negative nannies and pessimistic prophets who bemoan today’s kids. As a teacher, I learned much more then I ever taught. Admittedly, a few of my tutelage drove me to the end of my wits; however, all had endearing qualities and many were exceedingly grateful, resilient and loving.
Once a third grade student gave me a “present” for Christmas. He had scrawled on a piece of scratch paper, “I promise to bake you a cake because I love you.”
I also remember one charming girl lovingly wrote a description of her very hardworking mom. “(My mom) had just come home from her part-time job at Jack-In-The-Box. Her hair was tied up in a bun, her hairnet still on. Her uniform was blue with yellow and red stripes, and was so dirty. She was so beautiful, and I was proud of her. I cooked a cup of noodle soup for her.”
A very sweet eighth grader expressed her appreciation for her stepdad graciously divulging. “Even though he isn’t my real dad, he acts like a real dad.”
Another maturing eighth grade girl articulated her gratitude for her omnipotent mom. “She’s there for me when I’m hurt or when I don’t know what’s happening to my body or when I’m sick, or when I have to talk, or when I’m down.”
One of Socrates students, Cicero, perhaps one of those tyrannical youth he complained about, sums up the Thanksgiving sentiment well. “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.”
I hope you and your family enjoy a thankful, blessed Thanksgiving.
Contact Margaret Lavin at firstname.lastname@example.org.