Changing Values; Yes Sarmack, I Think We Can
The current social attitude that holds an individual's life as having no value stems from the values we in this country have decided are most important to us. It seems as if there is no longer a desire amongst the masses to do "better" or to be "better." Each day I go to work and see the way a new generation of parents are raising their children, and the child rearing skills I see need a definite makeover before our children will see the value of another's life.
My children are young adults; I raised them, and I did the very best I could with what I had. I term them as having grown up in the generation of entitlement. They are beautiful human beings, and yes, like their mother they both know the value of human life, the value of people themselves, and the value of the world around them, and yet they both exude this aura of entitlement. They exude that aura, and so do their friends, and so does every child I watched grow up in my neighborhood. They believe themselves to be entitled to the things that their parents worked long and hard to provide them with, and yet they value the things around them even though there seems to be a part of them that believes they were "owed" what they've been blessed with.
The generation I see in school now is a whole other entity. The children are different, the parents are different, and in turn all of the rest of us have changed in ways that we might not even be aware of in order to protect ourselves from what we don't understand. I call this generation the generation of "no accountability." They aren't accountable to their parents because they are perceived as perfect, and if you hold them to accountability for their actions and their perceptions that no one else has value, their parents perceive that you attack perfection. They believe that their children's behavior and lack of the ability to "value" their friends and the world as a whole is a lie. Not their kids, not their homes, don't even go there!
The current social attitude is selfish, and it comes from everyone believing that they should have whatever they want at the expense of everyone and everything around them. Children are "bribed" to be good, and they are "rewarded" for acting in a way that would have gotten me Mom's dreaded wooden spoon as a child. Parents have no respect for the people who work with their children; they have no respect for school administration, for teachers. for coaches, or for many of their neighbors, and children learn this because their parents have no problem disrespecting these people in front of their children. How can we ever expect people to value another individual's life if they have no respect for themselves? How do we encourage humanity to value the individual life if they don't know how to value their own individual lives?
Self worth can't be taught; it's a feeling. Value for another human being can't be taught; it's something that grows inside of us. It's the nurturing of compassion, love , and empathy that seems so often to have disappeared, but yet it's not gone completely because you asked the question, and Mr. Roberts wrote the Hub, and then there's me; I answered the question in the only way I know how. Life is valued by many. Our own lives, the lives of our family, the lives of our friends, and the many times we reach out to someone we don't even know because we've seen or read about their story. I admit that somewhere along the way the masses decided that it's everyone for themselves, and I agree that it's time for employers, parents, and communities to band together for the good of all.
The government needs to make their programs work; they so often don't work, and then leave the people that needed their help living in a continuous circle that they can't or won't find their way out of. Parents need to step up and raise their children to have values, they need to be accountable for their children's actions, and then they in turn need to make their children accountable. Employers need to look at options, and landlords need to consider the people their tenants were before unemployment. They need to cut them some slack, and allow them the time needed to get back on their feet. That doesn't mean someone can skip out on their rent, or that it gives someone the allowance to pay nothing. People need to value themselves enough to admit that the job at the laundry mat, gas station, or even the fast food restaurant isn't a concession, or that it won't get any better, it's just what they have to do.
We all need to value ourselves, our families, the families down the street, and the families we'll never meet. We need to value the Earth, the animals we share it with, and we all need to learn to give. Even if we know how to give; there's always a little more, maybe just the pennies in the bottom of the jar, and if there aren't any pennies, there's the clothes in the dresser that haven't been worn in years. You know, the ones in the bottom drawer. There's always furniture in the garage, the basement, or the attic; the stuff you throw in the alley that isn't really garbage. I don't know. I think the only way we can look at changing attitudes is to look within ourselves and model the value. Just live it, and hopefully we can touch just enough lives along the way that the "value" will spread.