Tag Archives: Socrates

We’re in good hands

Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, was a brilliant thinker to be sure. He also was dead wrong as he sought to forecast the future of civilization.

The quote you see attached to this blog is attributed to Socrates, who died more than 300 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. He lamented the disrespect shown by young people. If we were to take what the great man said to the bank, we would indeed be in a world of hurt.

I, though, remain an eternal optimist. Two young women I spoke with today give me ample reason to attest to what many of us know already: that we are going to leave this good Earth in the best of hands.

The women — Savannah Sisk and Aubrie Rich — are Farmersville High School seniors. They are the valedictorian and salutatorian of the Class of 2020. I spoke to them to gather information for a story I am writing for the Farmersville Times, so I will not divulge what they said; I do not want to scoop the newspaper.

However, I want to declare that these two young women symbolize great young people all across this land of ours. Their stories are far from unique. Indeed, similar stories can be told everywhere, in every city and town in this country.

My boss assigned me this story thinking I would like to take a break from the sausage grinder of politics and public policy. Brother, was she correct. Speaking to these two individuals filled me with optimism and hope. They offered clear visions of where they intend to go, what they intend to do with the rest of their lives. They spoke with wisdom and clarity about the challenges they faced during their senior year at Farmersville High School; they were challenges that none of them saw coming as their school was essentially shut down because of a worldwide pandemic.

I told both of these two young folks — neither of whom I have met face to face — how proud I am of them. To be sure, I am proud of all the young achievers who have finished one chapter of their lives and are ready to open the next one.

Do they disrespect their elders, are they tyrants of their households, do they display bad manners? No. They prepare to do great things.

I’ll get back to the humdrum of politics in due course. At this moment, I merely want to salute what well could be the next “greatest generation.”

Discouragement of youth: an eternal condition

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

Socrates

The man who said these things about the youth of his era  lived four centuries before Jesus’ birth.

Socrates was one of those great Greek classical philosophers and thinkers whose words live for eternity. So, too, do his concerns about youth.

I think of these words when I hear people disparage today’s younger generation. I think of them knowing that Socrates felt this way long before the world was introduced to the teachings of those we follow today.

I have begun looking once again at a volume I’ve cherished for many years. “The Greatest Generation,” written by broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw, tells of the heroism of those who fought during World War II, returned home build their lives and in the process build the mightiest nation the world has ever seen.

Yes, they were great men and women. But they’ve been followed by other great generations, too. Men and women who sacrificed for their country. Many paid the ultimate price. Others came home and, by golly, built their own lives and continued the work started by many millions of others who came before them.

And all the while they have griped out loud about the youth of their era. They wonder whether civilization as they know it will survive those who “tyrannize their teachers,” or those who “contradict their parents” or “gobble up dainties at the table.”

I am supremely confident civilization as we know it will survive. Indeed, it might even become even better than what we know today.

My sense is that Socrates might have known that to be the case when he offered the quotation attributed to him back in the day.