Senior citizen are complaining.
Hmm, not really, actually they are bitching about almost everything.
For starters they are constantly complaining about the younger generation. They don’t like the way the younger generation communicates, acts, thinks, behaves, dresses, looks, and talks.
Next, they are complaining about TV programs, music, fashion trends, hair styles, body art, loss of honor, respect tradition, and face book.
While the older women complain about the present mindset of teenage girls that “making it to graduation without being pregnant” spells success, it seems that men over seventy have to pull up their pants until they hit the armpits, and then complain about the government, full time.
Being over eighty years old myself, enables me to understand the viewpoints on a lot of these things. What I mean is that I understand how the viewpoints of us older folks developed, and why.
Our viewpoints have their roots in a mindset which was gradually acquired by us during our lifetime of experiences. And, none of our experiences produced a mindset that included “texting” during the family Thanksgiving dinner. It also did not include piercing our lips, and eyebrows, and tongues.
Neither do we understand why a loud noise, consisting of banging on guitars and drums is supposed to be music.
However, while I do understand the origins of our mindset, I don’t understand the bitching which goes on among us older folk about the generation gap, and the apparent disconnect with a lot of the current ways, and of life in general.
First of all, let’s be a bit honest about it.
We, as the “older generation” do not have an “exclusive” on being right on a lot of things. While our mindset was being formed by our elders, we learned to accepted a few things as being right, when in reality some of them were so wrong and ill conceived that they make us shudder where we dare to think back.
And, I am not only talking about the mindset of not too recent times, that a specific portion of our citizens was supposed to sit in the back of the bus, or was not fit to hold a public office, or be part of a management team.
Remember? That was our “older” generation . . . . and it isn’t that long ago.
Please, allow me to cite a different example from Germany. You know, of course, that Germany is the country which produced great minds such as Goethe, Schiller, and Albert Einstein. Moreover, German products were recognized all over the world as superior, and German engineers were sought out by international companies to improve their machinery.
And still, from 1936 until about 1947 the German school system decided that left handed children were “Idiots”. Period.
Unless these “Morons” were corrected to write right handed, and use their right hand for things like throwing a ball, they were considered too stupid to learn, and were therefore pronounced “Idiots”. In order to “teach” them, the children were forced to hold out their left hand, and the teacher hit the “bad” hand with a willow stick so that the hand would bleed and swell up, therefore unable to hold a pen. Talking about “teaching to an extreme”.
The subject of the disconnect between us older folks (we are always right) and the younger generation (which is always wrong) is far too extensive to discuss in a single post. However, as we grow older, we cannot simply assume that we know it all, and just because of the fact that we are older, we have somehow acquired the right to stop learning.
We have to recognize that this is exactly the mindset which produced the “disconnect” in the first place.
In summation, it becomes clear that we have a challenge on our hand, and it is also clear that “bitching” is not the answer
If we choose to set an example, we need to do better.
“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.” It was ever thus. Horst, this was attributed by Socrates to Plato. Even if it wasn’t Plato for sure, the sentiment was put in writing around their time.
On a separate note, you wondered what more you could say about Karl’s life. As a reader, the timeline of events is the glue that holds the stories together. However it’s the amazing depth of observational detail that is really riveting. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve read each of your books multiple times. You pack so much into a single sentence, paragraph, that reading your words carefully and really letting them sink in pays dividends. For example, it’s easy to skim over your descriptions of people’s behaviour around the Flak towers focusing on the events. But to read it carefully and let it sink in brings the terror and desperate struggle for survival of fittest to clarity. Moreover you use all the senses: if it stinks, stings, stuns your hearing, you say that directly. Much of what was mundane to the Berlin kids your age, pushing floating, bloated corpses out of the way so you could wade through a dangerous, diseased and disgusting flooded subway to ‘get the job done’ is so far out of my experience that the only respect I can demonstrate is to carefully reread so I can take it on board.
I’ll give you a “youth of today” comparison to wrap up. The recent movie Dunkirk was largely taken in two very different ways depending on the generation of the audience. To the older people, more or less versed in main events of WWII, it was a retelling of a great disaster masterfully spun as a human triumph over the evils of Nazism. However, if you looked carefully, the enemy was largely undefined, an inference, a presence. To the “youth of today” Dunkirk was ahistorical, a tribute to the human spirit. Those of us who were aware of the history projected that knowledge into a story we were familiar with. We felt the Germans, the Nazis and it slipped past us that we couldn’t really see them. For young people, it simply wasn’t historical. In fact, the post Cold War generation has been raised without history. That’s more than unfortunate: it’s dangerous. As China has been actively restructuring its society very much on the Hitler model of the people exist to serve the Party. The Leader is the Party. The Leader was just appointed essentially for life. Behind the Great Firewall an isolated population is fed a steady diet of racism, revised history and national destiny. Everyone is watched. Elementary school kids are taught how to report spies and the memorize the phone number for the police hotline. In Russia, it’s a variation on the theme. As the USA casually threw away everything built up during and since WWII, raised a series of clueless and naive generations, our enemies were biding their time, sharpening their knives and training their populations. They know who the enemy is. Americans and westerners in general don’t even know that they don’t know.
Horst, you and I can look at the South China Sea and the Crimea and recognize the Sudatenland. The kids can’t even see the enemy in the movie Dunkirk. It’s not their fault but blame is for the losers. Post war Germans have a bitter understanding that.
Please keep in good health and happiness Horst!
Horst! I have noticed quite a gap between the kids of today and when I was growing up.
My parents, too, were raising young adults. We were expected to work towards independence.
Good to see your writing.
You hit the nail on the head.
It sounds as if your, and my parents were like minded.
Since our generations were raised with these expectations, it is hard for us to comprehend, and to understand, what exactly went wrong.
While it is kind of reassuring to read that we are not alone in our observations, we also know that there is a bit more to our silent questions.
Take good care of yourself, my friend,
Dear Horst, I just read your book “Children to a degree” and I want you to know that as a person born in Soviet Russia I feel deeply touched. We should have known that ordinary German people suffered from the hands of Nazi as much as we have suffered from KGB.
Only our lack of knowledge lasted a bit longer – all the way up to 90s, to the “perstroika” and Gorbachev. I was always wondering about whai it was like to grow up in Nazi Germany. Seems it was very much like we grew up in USSR. Only not we ourselves nor our parents have seen any different way of life. There is no hope for Russia, but there still is a hope for America.
God Bless you.
Thank you so much for your pertinent comments.
I agree that there was not much of a difference between growing up under the Nazi rulers or the KGB.
Your remarks show me that you are able to read between the lines.
I also agree that there is no hope for Russia, and it is sad that even the hope for America is daily challenged.
Thank you, Katie, for your kind wishes.
May God bless you too, and please, take good care of yourself.
It is (again) important.
You might be rightfully wondering what kept me from answering your extensive comment.
Well, Tealeaf, there is very, very little that I can add to your reference of Socrates and Plato.
You pretty much summed it up in a better, and more condensed form than I am able to formulate.
Furthermore your example of Dunkirk, and your position that the following generations “don’t even know, what they don’t know ”
is not only right on point, but also frightening true.
It is also frightening that it is much later than we allow ourselves to think.
Now, in regard to your ‘separate note” I really appreciate your kind words.
You “made my day” in more ways than one, and this was the real reason for my belated answer.
I am still speechless. To simply say: “Thank you”, is not enough.
Therefore, I like to give you a little hint for my following books: I will try my level best to write them in a “balanced way”, but if the reader don’t tries to read between the lines . . . . . . he might miss . . . . (half of the story).
Be good to yourself, Tealeaf, because in the end, you are all you really got.
Thanks, my friend,
I just finished reading your first four books for the second time. I feel so honored that you shared your experiences and that i could get a glimpse of what your life was like growing up in Germany during the war. I gobbled up every word during the second reading. The first reading i felt like i was buckled up in the back seat tagging along while you took me back in time to experience a part of your life. Thank you so much for taking the time to write your story. I felt so much pride for the young boy karl as i was transported back into a time that was scary. You are a real hero.
Thank you very much for leaving a comment.
It should be me, who is feeling honored, and I am.
And, “thanks” for feeling pride for Karl. I am happy to read that
I was able to connected with you.
You mentioned a “scary time”, well Karin, we are once again living through a scary time.
Please be safe, I sincerely wish you well,
all the best,
Has the huge fire been a problem to your home? We don’t hear from you much, so I sure did wonder and hope all is well.
Thanks for your concern, and your questions.
We were fortunate, and are extremely thankful that the devastating fires spared us.
However, we are sorry to say that many of our friends were not so lucky.
Thanks, again, Judi,
Spring is on the way! It’s been quite a while, Horst. Everything ok?