This post was prompted by a forward I found in my inbox. It was an illustration of how a member of the younger generation (a college freshman) perceives the older one, as primitive beings. While I haven't run into many youngsters like the obnoxious one mentioned there,I can safely say they exist with all their pompous arrogance. I've seen it as road rage and disparaging remarks thrown at senior citizens driving on the road. I have noted the frustration of young drivers honking madly as an old person laboriously crosses the road. I've heard and seen enough to wonder from where all this comes. On the brighter side I have heard and seen a majority of young people, being kind, gentle and patient with their elders. These are the ones, who you will not find airing their disapproval, of the oldies they encounter outside their families and homes.
Generally one can safely say, youngsters these days are becoming quite impatient and intolerant of older people, who have not kept abreast of the times. Being born in a world where everything has to be superfast, almost instant, they adopt arrogance and condescension with those they perceive as ‘primitive,’ and slow. They fail to understand that, the fruits of progress they enjoy today, didn’t happen overnight. These senior citizens have been a part of the process. They have moved through the stages of development and each has seen an improvement on a previous generation in terms of inventions and discoveries.
As children, we grew up with some new inventions, that our parents' never knew in their childhood. We also enjoyed improvements on existing devices which made them, faster, quicker and more efficient. But I can’t recall impatience, intolerance or arrogance being a part of our interactions with senior citizens. In fact we would be very keen to explain about new inventions and even try to convince them they were safe and good to use.
I know how difficult it was for companies to sell pressure cookers to housewives in small towns, back in the late 50’s and early 60’s. The general fear being that it would explode. It was the same when kerosene stoves were introduced to replace coal, firewood etc. Later the introduction of LPG for cooking found the same initial response. I was never intolerant of my grandmother, who lived in a village and used firewood and coal to cook and heat the house in winter.
Computers are the biggest challenge for older people in my country these days. Some have learned or taught themselves the basics, so they can surf the net and stay in contact through emails etc. Yet many still don’t know how to operate a computer, the largest percentage being women. Youngsters are impatient with such people.
The progress in the past two decades has happened at a faster pace than earlier years. Not many who carry the senior citizen tag have been able to catch up with recent developments. I’m sure that is no reason to view them as stupid or inefficient. But that’s just me. Tell it to a generation that has grown up on ‘instant.’