Submitted by Wanda Carter
Today, our young folks think that it’s cool to speak their mind even if they are talking to their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Most young people seem to have no regard for the seniors age, stature in life or the family, and or their contribution to the young persons success in life. I wonder why young people think that approach to communicating with their elders is okay? Why do they think that it’s okay to yell, say disrespectful things, then later turn around and ask for them for some sort of assistance (can you pick me up, do you have some change, or are you picking up the children). That is not cool and will soon wear out with seniors like me who were raised under a different family hierarchy?
When I was a child, my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were the family rulers. They established and maintained the family traditions, acceptable and unacceptable behaviors young people could display in their presence, and what we could say or not say in front of them. When adults were in a conversation, young people were not allowed in the room, and talking back was not allowed. When we disobeyed, mom might hit us with a broom, a hanger, or any other object within her reach. But she never really injured you, she just wanted you to know that she wasn’t going to tolerate the behavior you were displaying at that time and you stop the behavior because you didn’t want to get hit anymore.
When a young person was out playing, if they did something wrong and Ms. Susie saw it, she would slap you up side your head and then call your mother so she could slap you when you got home. Everyone in the community knew everyone else and someone always saw what you were doing when you were out playing with other children. Parents didn’t just give children an allowance, you had to earn it. I used to work on my father’s hot dog-polish sausage truck to earn my spending money. When I wasn’t doing that, I babysat to earn money, then at 16 I went to work for the River-view Amusement Park.
Respect your elders or one day when you need them, they won’t be there… Love is displayed through your actions, stating “I love you” really doesn’t mean a thing especially when you turn around and curse me out. Love is an action word, it’s a verb, it is a behavior that is demonstrated…When you get angry, walk it off. Go into meditation, leave the space and go somewhere else. Once you say something hurtful to someone else, the words pierce them and they cannot return from which they came. I heard them, I felt them and I’ve experienced the pain they caused. My grandmother used to say, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all…Peace