WE WERE ONCE CHILDREN
Children grow up so fast that it’s almost impossible to chart time in a deliberate manner. I was once a child and my memory could only take my consciousness back when I was three, at the most. Although to a certain extent, I am familiar with songs mother used to sing as lullaby when I was an infant but it was more coincidental than mental. There is no need to press fast-forward to appreciate the speed of a period.
Time flies incredibly fast that I could only describe it as a glimpse. Several years back, I was a toddler and now, in a flick, I am an old hag already.
The Distant Past
I could only recollect few instances in the past. I have had probably some juvenile antics which my parents disliked. I could still remember those times my parents would scold me. The worst was the beatings I would receive from my father, using his leather belt, to drive the point that he was angered as a result of my delinquent actions. The corporal punishments were all there and I could remember the intensity of its application but my memory would fail in recalling what those instances were for which I got penalized. It was psychology of forgetfulness in operation most probably.
Anyway, everyone knew all along how it was to be a child. Years ago, I, along with peers, yearned to reach that day to be old, to complete schooling, to work and be on our own. I remembered my classmates proudly proclaiming that someday they would become lawyers, doctors, engineers, priests, etc. Well, in my case, since I was always the assigned classroom cleaner during grade school and which I enjoyed the exercise much more so the personal attention given by my adviser, I would proclaim, to the dismay of my mother who learned it later, that I wanted to be, not any greater, but be a janitor! At that time, the white collar job was the most prayed for and sought after as ambition.
A number of my classmates became what they announced they would be. Most of them even exceeded the expectations. Not only were they the toast of their neighborhood, most of them even went abroad to compete and resided for good. In my case, I stayed around, became a servant, a civil servant, a government worker if you may.
Unlike in Europe where government workers are almost conferred with and treated as part of nobility, in this country a public servant is shunned and seen as incompetent. I had a hard time extricating myself from the impression no matter how scholarly I would struggle.
A number of my classmates, if not all of them, were all good children. We all are to begin with. We may have absentee parents, too busy to watch over us, too concerned about career to devote their time on us, too conservative to provide us the necessary tools to confront reality, but we demanded little. We merely understood our predicament. We merely devoted our concerns with studies when in school and acted with discipline when at home. We looked up at our parents as demigods.
There was little technology to spoil us then. We relied on manual operation and rejoiced at it. The only gadget which was awesome at that time was the calculator and TV sets. But there was little to compute and only a few shows to watch. Most of our time were devoted to helping our parents in household chores, gallivant a little for socialization and back to our studies.
We had little choices before unlike today when every move is defined not only by a multiplicity of choices but also by several options, applications, programs ad infinitum.
The Present Genset
That explains the fact that children nowadays, the future adult, or that generation that preceded us are too delicate if not too discriminating in their ranges. It is environment that created their prickly and snappish nature. It is no longer nurturance but more on the milieu. It is the advancement and the mass based popularity of technology which literally changed conduct, outlook and even the attitude of the person towards another. Parental concern is relegated to a trivial corner.
Before music was shared and one must reckon collective acceptance through jukeboxes before it could be played. Now, music can be enjoyed in privacy through earphones.
Well, there were also some miscues before and some misunderstanding. Our parents would be pissed off by the loud metallic music which we oftentimes preferred. Now, with our children, music has become more complex. There is little talent and more about experimentation. The lyrics were lost to a cacophony of rhythm hastily composed. There is little melody and more about rhyme.
But despite the fad, the children today are not grossly different from those of yesteryear. Despite the technology that divides us, there is individual perception and common sense which dictate the similarities and transformations. There are industrious and the lazy ones. There are the ambitious and impetuous; scholarly and moronic; smart and stupid; vigilant and passive; active and shy; boisterous and old-school.
Behavior is a product of personal choice and never a part of the gene or something congenital. It is a personal choice of the concerned party. A farmer may have children who would grow up into successful businessmen. A community leader may end up with children wanted by law. So on and so forth. There is no formula because it is a matter of selecting on which side a person is contented or happily disposed of.
I belonged to a generation that venerates parents. Although I defied authorities for purposes of independence and individuality, I reckoned superior views and accepted setback in the name of cordiality. Not the present generation however, I mean most of them in the batch. They have better exposures, greater knowledge, broader contacts and healthier perceptions. Their means of projecting such lead however is reduced because of uncalled for or unintentional brashness and impudence. Nobody is exempted from hacking. For them, the parents were mere transmissions, decorative pieces worthy only in accomplishing bank forms. For them, the parents were specie of history, a threat to resources if not the fountainhead for assets. There is too much materialism in estimating their importance. Respect has been calibrated and at times ignored.
That is the reality.
We had nothing of that before and that made the real distinction. Our childhood was pristine and worth looking back, while children today could only look forward on what dimensions of technology would come their way. There are of course exceptions.
Our childhood was defined according to emotional colors; none of that today exists, fortunately or unfortunately, in the consciousness of the youth.
The world seemed headed, despite global warming, towards a cold and icy future.