I find it interesting what today’s youth are being schooled in…well, in school. I’m listening to a “counseling” or rather, “Coaching” session by a young woman to another young woman. One is probably twenty three, the other maybe eighteen. The “elder” is coaching the younger woman on how to conduct a job interview. She’s done nothing but talk for a very long time. She’s also pointing about some very obvious common sense things. I’m struck by the thought, is there no common sense today? What IS being taught by parents and teachers to students? What kinds of skills do we learn when we get out of school in the US? The elder girl is actually offering to do a job application for the other girl. Forgive me, but OH MY GOD!!
I’ve heard Carolyn Myss say that “our families are those people that teach us how to survive in the world.” I agree with that statement on so many levels. Not only do they teach us how to survive physically, and take care of us until we can learn to do so, but they teach us how to survive emotionally. Some of the coping mechanisms aren’t necessarily positive; think alcoholics and sexual abuse. Yet, for the most part, parents have been teaching their children for centuries about how to get by in the world around them.
It seems odd about what I learned, or didn’t learn, from my parents. I learned how to attend school and learned how to take care of people who were sick, drunk, and emotionally needy. I learned that I should never give up and that I should never settle for a B when an A would be better. I learned that school and learning and knowledge were important and they could get you far. I learned how to do all the basics (eating, sleeping, dressing, and all those other nasty functions!) and to go to the doctor when I needed help. I learned that lying a little is okay but about big things, never. I learned that lawfulness was good and being good was, well, good. When I think about it, they did an okay job of getting me the basics. I did learn to keep striving to be better. A good basic that has spawned others.
What I didn’t learn were some of the more refined skills – like using my education, thinking for myself, balancing a check book (I’m still horrid!), finding my own voice, trusting my knowledge, and always looking for something new. Variety IS okay, as is who I am, as a person. I found my own voice after I stopped listening to my parents. Striving to be better helped me understand, after forty years, that I was not so bad and that I could do my own thing, and love it. It’s amazing how parental influnce on all the bad things is still there.
I’ve always said that we spend the first twenty years gathering up all the crap – the foundation for learning, surviving, and coping. We spend the next twenty years getting rid of it all – processing it as it were, like a giant garbage collector. THEN we get to enjoy our lives. So far, within the space of a few years, it hasn’t proven me wrong.
Listening now, this child-teaching-child is frightening. I wonder if cell phones, video games, and the Intenet won’t be our downfall. Dan Simmons is right – we are a Lost Age – lost in all those wonderful things that make us human. We’re losing interaction, conversation, relationships, knowledge in books, common sense things. We’re losing manners and vocabulary. Help! It’s got to be out there somewhere. Perhaps the world doesn’t have to be lost; maybe us “old farts” can keep the knowledge alive, somehow, some way.
I’m off to read Virgil. Please, I implore you – do the same. Don’t let it ALL be lost!!