An ‘ole fossil’ offers advice for the young

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 24, 2014

“The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.”
— Eric Schmidt

It seems that the world has sped to the point that very few people have the gumption to “stop and smell the roses,” so to speak. And while I agree that computers are a valuable resource, I sometimes wonder if they and the Internet do more harm than good.
Look at it in comparison to our history of other accomplishments. There’s Benjamin Franklin and his kite with a key that led to the discovery of electricity and a revolutionary power source that is essential to the modern world. However, one small slip and it can fry you. Henry Ford revolutionized how we travel, but at the same time, we can lose our life on the highway. Catch my drift?
We have gotten lazy, both in mind and spirit. I’m 60 years old and am very concerned about the young people of the current generation. After all, they’re the generation that will take care of my generation when we are in our 80s. What will our health care facilities be like?
A sense of entitlement is one of the big changes that has reared its ugly head in recent times. The old folks — that’s me — compare it to an allowance. I’ll never forget the first time I asked my dad for an allowance. He said, “I allow you to sleep in a warm bed. I allow you to have a roof over you head and clothes on your back. I allow you three squares a day. That’s your allowance. Now get the shovel and posthole diggers. We’ve got fence to run.”
Another thing that burns me up is how kids are turning away from the church. They seem to be looking for something that’s staring them right in the face. Good always triumphs over evil. And if you think there is no God, look at a bird in flight or a flower popping out of the ground and in no time into full bloom. That’s nature, you say? Well, who do you think created it?
I’ve said for a long time that morality and human values are dead not only in this generation but in mine also. School shootings never occurred while I was growing up. We settled matters with our fists, and if someone pulled an “equalizer,” they were going to have to fight everyone there. And bullying — that’s nothing new. When we were bullied in school, we relied on our friends to back us up. If you think bullying in school is tough, wait until you get into the “real world” later on.
Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of good kids out there. I’m a volunteer coach with the school system, and I see them every day. I compliment them on their values and tell them never to lose them. When I ask them how they came to have those values, the resounding answer is “that’s just the way I was raised.”
Ah, the value of the parenting thing.
Regarding computers, as a recent letter writer put it, “Having a generation not taught to use their minds gives us a dumbed-down society easily led.” It’s not too late, however. Just a little advice from the “ole fossil” (that’s what the baseball kids call me). Read a hard-bound book before they all disappear. Shoot some real hoops instead of playing games on the computer. Go fishing and take a friend with you. And if you’re bullied in school, do what I have come to do over the years, especially if it’s verbal: Consider the source. If this person is not important to you — and most bullies aren’t — forget it and find a friend or two who’s bigger than him.
I pray for each and every one of every generation that our divisions will cease and love will abound. I suggest that everyone do the same, and I leave you with this: “Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.”
Andy “Coach Fossil” Canup lives in Salisbury.

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