Mason County News
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 • Posted August 5, 2009

I'm Too Old for This Young World

First among the things I am too old for is the lack of discipline in our schools which, in my mind, is the primary reason “Johnny can’t read” and foremost among the reasons so many teachers are leaving the teaching profession.

Born in 1911 my “golden rule” school days started in 1918 which was some years after the slate had been replaced with the pencil and tablet but quite some time before the pen dipped into an ink bottle was to be replaced by the fountain pen. Thankfully however it was within the years when reading and writing and arithmetic were still taught to the tune of that old timey hickory stick,or paddle.

Why would I be thankful that the days of corporal punishment, (commonly knows as spankings) were still in full sway? Because hindsight at my ancient age tells me that due to the threat of that hickory stick treatment class discipline was maintained and I and the rest of the class was able to learn the bits of wisdom the teacher was offering.

Those were the days when parents did not believe that a teacher was trying to beat their child to death when giving them a spanking. As a matter of fact most parents, like mine, told their children that if they were unruly enough to get a spanking at school they would get another one when they got home.

“Spare the rod and spoil the child”is a saying from the old school of “child raising” that was observed by most parents of my day and as a result strict discipline was the rule of law in those homes observing that old adage. My dad (whom we called papa) graduated magna cum laude from that old school and he used his diploma (commonly called a paddle) which was always available every time mama said “Tom that child needs a spanking.”Papa rarely ever spanked us of his own accord but when called upon by mama to discipline one of his children he pulled out that old school diploma and went to work and there was not a one of his kids that would ever deny that papa was not a hard worker.

There are those who would say that papa’s spankings were akin to child abuse but not one of his children looked upon them as abuse but as something they had coming and we all vowed “never to do it again.”

Then too, there are others who would argue that of equal importance to the hickory stick is the carrot method which in effect is the recognition of good behavior followed by a reward.

In my youth while never being personally INDOCTRINATED into the carrot method of obtaining obedience and discipline from a child I did observe it tried, with dismal results, on a couple of kids of my acquaintance. In saying this however, I do recognize that because of the differences in parents and in children, a training method that can be successful with one child may in no way touch another. Thus there can be failures in any given method.

Second in the things I am too old for is today’s failure to teach the fundamentals of good manners as taught by mothers and grandmothers of yesteryear. This failure allows men to eat with their hats and caps on and permits women to tolerate and sanction such rudeness. This simple act, which to some may be an insignificant gesture showing their disregard for manners, bears the stench of the decay and deterioration of family values which is so common in America today.

Those guilty of this act will say “What difference does it make?” and in so doing start tearing out the foundation stones of the wall of morality so sturdily built by generations past. These “small” violations of moral integrity weaken the structure of values that parents of yesteryear (and many today) strived to build for their children. (But it would appear that in spite of all of my repeated protests I am beating on a dead horse.)

I am too old for the“Fast Talkers” currently being featured by the TV networks whose appetite for getting more words into their commercials, news casts and talk shows puts them at cross-roads with most of the elderly members of the “What’s your hurry crowd.” The “Let’s get it done now bunch” seem to have forgotten or have completely ignored the fact that they are losing a large portion of the elderly and hearing impaired audiences who cannot understand but a fraction of what these fast talkers are saying and consequently turn to other programming.

One of the best examples of the fast talking news casts is the Chris Mathews show on MSNBC. Even if I liked the guy I couldn’t watch his show because he is always in such a hurry and talks so fast I wouldn’t know what he is talking about. However it seems that the networks have gone crazy over good looking fast talking women for their news programs and I am sure that most of the elderly men (like myself) find it easier to just hit the mute key and watch those pretty girls talk than to try to understand what they are saying. Hell’s fire they’re even putting them into all of the pro football games as sideline interviewers of some description and I can’t for the life of me figure out why the networks think these women and their input add anything to the broadcasts of these games.

Another fault I find with this young world is the “silly”advertising that is thrown at us on TV. I’ll swear I cannot understand how people are paid good money to come up with stuff so silly one would think that their dialog is that of a child. To my way of thinking the use of animals such as chipmunks and chimpanzees are more effective ways of holding the attention of the listening audience to the sales pitch. I like the little lizard that GEICO uses in their adds. And then there was a time when Troy Akeman and a little chimpanzee didn’t seem to be doing so bad. People loved to watch both Troy and the chimpanzee smile.

And while we're on the subject of monkeys, let me say that while I never wanted to believe man descended from monkeys there are times I feel like changing my mind when I observe the actions of people who have become aware that they are being photographed by a TV camera. They immediately lose sight of the fact that they are humans and begin acting just like monkeys. You don’t believe me? Just watch next time this happens and by golly you will think you are at a zoo.

There is not enough room in this article for me to discuss all of the things I am too old for, so in closing I will me say a few words about two items that I think are the foremost inventions of this young world and they are the remote control and the mute button on our television sets.

The remote control not only allows me to sit in my easy chair and surf the net, a feature that drives my wife crazy, it also allows me to keep up with two football games, and, during time-outs, commercials and half time I can keep tabs on a movie that is showing at the same time.

The mute button, bless its heart, allows me to say “shut up” to all commercials that I have grown to despise and it also allows me to block out those females who roam the sidelines making interviews during football games.

The mute button is a special pet of mine and I could go on and on but my time is up. Have a nice day.

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