• Bill Raines

DON’T SQUANDER THE FUTURE


Imagine a sextet of seasoned citizens sitting around a table sipping coffee. One frustrated fellow loudly bemoans his disappointment regarding Generation Alpha, the offspring of millennials. Opinions vary. However, one observation is absolute, inarguable: children today are blessed with more earthly pleasures. They have collected a virtual kaleidoscope of unimaginable playthings. This is not a complaint. Innovation should be applauded, not discouraged. Nevertheless, my childhood was drastically different. We lacked contraptions of comfort and convenience. For those unfamiliar with the 1960s, many young families were sans refrigerators. A strong man with a pair of tongs would deliver a large cube each week to place in our “ice box.” We also were serviced by a friendly milkman who brought fresh milk, butter and eggs to our doorstep. Many of the other essentials arrived via the bread truck, lined with luscious loaves of white and rye and shelves crammed full of everything from hamburger buns to baseball cards to an alluring array of candy. Meat? That was purchased either at the butcher shop or grocery store. In our particular case, it was the inexpensive items, hotdogs and hamburgers. Popcorn and Kool-Aid were our other staples. We owned one motor vehicle, a station wagon. Dad was a modest breadwinner and Mom handled the housework and made sure Becky and I donned clean clothes and were prepared for school each day. During the summer, we ate watermelon and dashed through sprinklers. Dad and I cut firewood and mowed and manicured the lawn. Education? Thinking back, I don’t recall government or charitable organizations designed to deal with poverty, hunger, suicide or mass shootings. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance, studied the basics, laughed and frolicked during recess, then went home to our respective families. It was a simple life. I was far too busy, too focused on fundamentals to worry about worldly issues. I possessed few toys and physical treasures. I never logged onto a smartphone nor a laptop. Never snapped a selfie. Deprived? Green with envy? Certainly not. Yes, I wish youngsters would disconnect and go outside more and their folks would lose those distracting devices while driving, but I begrudge no generation its appetite - and affection - for alluring amenities. To each his own. Unsolicited words of advice? Select substance over image. And, remember, though you were born into freedom, it’s a privilege, not an entitlement. You must work to preserve it. Be prepared. Many difficult challenges loom ahead. Embrace them with dogged determination and a proud and steadfast spirit. The future is yours. Please, don’t squander it. Imagine a sextet of seasoned citizens sitting around a table sipping coffee. One frustrated fellow loudly bemoans his disappointment regarding Generation Alpha, the offspring of millennials. Opinions vary. However, one observation is absolute, inarguable: children today are blessed with more earthly pleasures. They have collected a virtual kaleidoscope of unimaginable playthings. This is not a complaint. Innovation should be applauded, not discouraged. Nevertheless, my childhood was drastically different. We lacked contraptions of comfort and convenience. For those unfamiliar with the 1960s, many young families were sans refrigerators. A strong man with a pair of tongs would deliver a large cube each week to place in our “ice box.” We also were serviced by a friendly milkman who brought fresh milk, butter and eggs to our doorstep. Many of the other essentials arrived via the bread truck, lined with luscious loaves of white and rye and shelves crammed full of everything from hamburger buns to baseball cards to an alluring array of candy. Meat? That was purchased either at the butcher shop or grocery store. In our particular case, it was the inexpensive items, hotdogs and hamburgers. Popcorn and Kool-Aid were our other staples. We owned one motor vehicle, a station wagon. Dad was a modest breadwinner and Mom handled the housework and made sure Becky and I donned clean clothes and were prepared for school each day. During the summer, we ate watermelon and dashed through sprinklers. Dad and I cut firewood and mowed and manicured the lawn. Education? Thinking back, I don’t recall government or charitable organizations designed to deal with poverty, hunger, suicide or mass shootings. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance, studied the basics, laughed and frolicked during recess, then went home to our respective families. It was a simple life. I was far too busy, too focused on fundamentals to worry about worldly issues. I possessed few toys and physical treasures. I never logged onto a smartphone nor a laptop. Never snapped a selfie. Deprived? Green with envy? Certainly not. Yes, I wish youngsters would disconnect and go outside more and their folks would lose those distracting devices while driving, but I begrudge no generation its appetite - and affection - for alluring amenities. To each his own. Unsolicited words of advice? Select substance over image. And, remember, though you were born into freedom, it’s a privilege, not an entitlement. You must work to preserve it. Be prepared. Many difficult challenges loom ahead. Embrace them with dogged determination and a proud and steadfast spirit. The future is yours. Please, don’t squander it.

95 views0 comments