Dear Next Generation: ‘Grab Onto Life With Both Hands’

November 3, 2020 Updated: January 17, 2021

One day several years ago, I was telling my adult children that I was unaware of them ever lying to me. I chuckled and said that if they did, I didn’t know about it. My oldest daughter became quite serious and said to me, “Dad, it’s not so much that we never lied to you, it’s more that you never gave us a reason to lie to you.”

From the time my four children were wee toddlers, I made it a habit to not discipline or punish them for accidents or mistakes. Often even mistakes in judgment. If my toddlers broke a glass I never raised my voice to them, rather I would run to them, pick them up and put them in a place of safety and clean up the broken shards of glass, at the same time telling them to let daddy help clean it up. I explained that if they tried to clean it up they could get hurt.

As they grew older they came to learn that they if they had an accident or made a mistake, they could come to me and I could help. But if they tried to hide it or fix it by themselves, they could make it worse or get hurt. This carried over into their adult lives. None of them have ever been in trouble with the law or had drug or alcohol problems.

So what I’m saying to young people is never give your children a reason to lie or hide things from you. As long as their actions are not out of malice, punishment isn’t necessary. Help them fix their mistakes and you’ll be helping them learn to become responsible adults. Encourage them not to hide their misdeeds, by showing them that their safety is your first priority. P.S. Tell them every day that you love them, and then show it.

CH (LTC) Kenneth D. Cain

_________

New Graduates

I am 87 years old, and on Saturdays I enjoy working at the local greenhouse. Leaving, I noticed a Little League ballgame going on across the street. I like to watch the kids playing ball just as I had so many years ago. I decided to stay before departing to watch a couple of innings. Strolling across the street, I stood and leaned on the fence, and on the other side sat one of the players. I asked him what the score was. He turned and with a big smile on his face, he said, “We’re behind 14 to nothing.” I was taken aback, but seeing the broad smile on the boy’s face I was prompted to ask, “Aren’t you discouraged?” Without a moment’s hesitation the little player said, “Discouraged…? Heck no Mister, we haven’t even been up to bat yet!”

As I walked to my car, I thought of my grandchildren who will be graduating from college and high school, and others who are also graduating at this time of year. They’re hearing the nonstop news media’s doom and gloom reports daily. They hear the bombings and unrest in far-off places, and high inflation eating at the value of the U.S. dollar, but the words of the young Little League ballplayer come back to me. With confidence in the world, I too believe the graduates would answer the same as my new little friend, “Mister, we haven’t even been up to bat yet.”

So I say to all of you graduates, “When you do get up to bat,” don’t wait until everything is just right. Conditions will never be perfect, there always will be obstacles, challenges, no perfect circumstances—so what! With each step you take, you will grow stronger and you will acquire more skills needed to become self-confident, and more successful. Don’t let the news of the day distort your dream.

Life throws unpleasant conditions at everyone in this world. You can choose how you react to these unpleasant life experiences. You have the power to select your mood just like you pick out the shoes you wear every morning. Grab onto life with both hands; experience it, don’t go through the motions to just get by, be an active participant. You’ll find success in your newly acquired experiences. Make the most of everything you do. Enjoy every moment.

Herb Carlson

_________

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating on the generation gap. Technology seems to be bringing us together in so many beautiful ways and simultaneously pushing us further and further apart.

We have the library of human knowledge in the palm of our hands, but people seem to feel more lonely and isolated than ever before. Drug use has escalated at mind-boggling rates. Mental health issues are showing up in children and young adults. Where has all the joy gone? Where are the smiling faces? What happened to the family? Why is there so much division in the American people?

A thought crossed my mind recently, that as human beings, we’re constructing our own individual realities through the internet. Our twitter feed is full of the celebrities that we follow. On instagram, we scroll through page after page of influencers peddling products that promise us happiness. Our youtube is catered to our taste and our liking. We’ve created virtual worlds that contain only the content we desire. I believe these details may be the root cause of our division.

In the past, it was necessary to physically interact much more frequently. We were exposed to different ideas and points of view and ways of seeing the world. When you talk to someone in person, you have to look them in the eye and see their humanity. If we disagreed on something, it could hopefully lead to a broadening of one’s own perspective. We all have different lives and come from different backgrounds. There’s an infinitely vast array of experiences divided among us all. What a beautiful thing that is!

When I go on the internet, I see so much hate. I see so many individuals who have constructed their own virtual realities. When someone’s words or opinions contradict that reality, it usually ends in some sort of negative interaction.

The reduction in physical human contact has led so many to become less empathetic, less understanding, and less loving. As technology and the internet finds itself in the hands of exceedingly younger and younger children, my fear is that this toxic individualization will become more pronounced.

I believe it’s time to stop and smell the roses (literally!!!). Go outside, feel the sun on your skin. Smell the fresh air. Put your toes in the grass. Smile at a stranger. Have a conversation with your loved ones and laugh as much as you possibly can. Laughter is some of the sweetest music the universe could ever hope to hear.

To step out of our own individual virtual realities can be uncomfortable. But on the other side of that discomfort is a gift so much sweeter. We’re human beings, not computers. It’s time for us to come together in empathy and understanding. Let’s embrace our differences and refuse to be divided by different points of view. In a time with so much division, love might really be the answer.

Colin Murray

____________________

What advice would you like to give to the younger generations?

We call on all of our readers to share the timeless values that define right and wrong, and pass the torch, if you will, through your wisdom and hard-earned experience. We feel that the passing down of this wisdom has diminished over time, and that only with a strong moral foundation can future generations thrive.

Send your advice, along with your full name, state, and contact information to NextGeneration@epochtimes.com or mail it to: Next Generation, The Epoch Times, 229 W. 28th St., Floor 7, New York, NY 10001