A generation without R-E-S-P-E-C-T

44 years ago, back in 1967, Aretha Franklin released the song “RESPECT”.  It was a landmark song of the feminist movement.  It was also a song close to the hearts of many African Americans, who felt it was their own civil rights cry.    Looking back, it is a song that called for the recognition of not only racial issues, but also gender inequalities and today, the world is a different place for all the changes that have taken place.

But I ask you now if we are facing a different problem of respect, a lack of respect for our older generations and their wisdom, and a lack of appreciation for authority, and a lack of respect for hard work and adversity and what it teaches us.

There is a whole generation of children and even 20+ year olds that have been born with technology in their hands, and don’t know a time when they had to calculate for themselves, using their brain.  They don’t seem to need patience or the tenacity to get through hard times, because they are bubble wrapped beyond their impact.  And they don’t expect to “work their way up”, they expect to be handed their ideal jobs on a platter.  The don’t stand while older people sit, and they don’t care…. They put their earphones in and look out the window.

It is frustrating, and disappointing, but what does it mean for the future?  I was raised on a steady diet of “respect your elders”, being taught to stand on a train to let someone older sit down, and to offer to help, and expect to work hard to get anywhere… and I do…

Work life balance is a cry of a new generation, and it is not without merit… but who ever changed their world sitting on the couch living in “balance”.  I don’t know anyone.

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How does society start to look when younger people don’t respect age and experience as an authority for the future?  When they think they can do it better, younger and push older people out the way like our years of learnings don’t matter?

What kind of workplaces will we have if young people want to start halfway up the ladder before they have stepped on the bottom rung?  Especially if our country’s low unemployment keeps them fulfilled in a job despite their atrocious productivity?

How does society look if the young people board the bus and look at their feet so they deliberately can’t see a pregnant or older person board… if you deliberately don’t look… you wont have to get up…

And then there are those who have never even been taught what good manners are…

And what will the world look like in twenty years if we let our next generations go on in “cruise control”?  Australia’s productivity has already fallen from top five in the world to 25th in the world over recent years… could it get worse? Is respect driving us down?

 

Perhaps we should relaunch the song for a new generation…