Oct 8, 2013

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"Why, when I was your age..."

Fill in the blank.

Oldsters fussing at young people is an ancient tradition that goes back to Greek philosophers bemoaning the impending doom of their culture because the youth of the day were out of touch.

Oddly, such musings are often correct. Still, the cycle of life never changes.

The fallacy lies in the arrogance of the elder lecturer who fails to recall their own youthful improprieties. Every generation believes they were more industrious, polite, and focused than the current crop of youngsters.

It's largely an illusion that comes with wrinkles and excessive belly fat.

Young people need mentors, not tormentors. A few will listen, fewer will heed what they hear. That's the way it is. That's the way it was. That's the way it always will be.

The brazen complexities of youth to do it themselves is, in fact, natures way of allowing them to strengthen their wings. Experience is the greatest teacher. Our role is prevent them from seriously injuring themselves (or others) as they make their best efforts.

When I was a teen most of my peers were anti-establishment hippies. Today they're mostly Republicans. And they managed to do that all by themselves.

I recall as a teen an older gentleman advising me to respect and learn from old folks. I asked him if Fidel Castro qualified as a potential mentor. Mao Tse Tung (Zedong) was ravaging China at the time with his insane form of Marxism. Should I learn from him? What about Timothy Leary? I wondered. He's older. Is he also wiser? I thought.

Truth is there is a certain arrogance that comes with age. Like the indiscretions inherent to youth, it, again, is part of the cycle of life.

Tyson will turn 80 in December.