Dear Next Generation: How You React to Challenges Will Determine Who You Are

By Dear Next Generation
Dear Next Generation
Dear Next Generation
July 7, 2021 Updated: July 7, 2021

Dear next generation,

I would like to tell you to not be afraid to strike up a conversation with an older person. I have worked and volunteered with a lot of young adults who are silent when I’m around them. I’ll break the silence by starting a conversation, and then they will suddenly look away from their cell phone or thoughts and perk up, and actually seem surprised—perhaps grateful—that I had spoken to them.

Young people are very isolated now, with all of the omnipresent cell phones, electronics, and so on. At 63 (and from a generation of social talkers), I have a lot of life experiences to share, and once I start chatting with younger folks, they open up and join in the fun!

I little while ago, a young man was bagging my groceries and asked me how my day was going. He had a stutter, and I thought nothing of it, because I was just happy to see a young person start a conversation with me. After chatting for several minutes, he told me that he usually doesn’t talk much because people make fun of his stutter. I told him to never feel that he was different from anyone, and that we are all humans with unique characteristics, and to be proud of who he was, and to never stop talking.

As I got ready to push my cart away, he said to me, “Thank you, you have really made my day.” He repeated that statement once more as I walked away. He had made my day as well. So don’t be afraid to take the time to talk to someone, old or young. (And CALL, not text, your parents or grandparents once in a while—we really like that!) You just might make both of your days brighter!

Maureen Mathieu, Maine

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Spent an hour in the bank with my dad, as he had to transfer some money. I couldn’t resist and asked, “Dad, why don’t we activate your internet banking?”

“Why would I do that?” he asked.

“Well, you won’t have to spend an hour here for things like transfer. You can even do your shopping online. Everything will be so easy.”

I was so excited about initiating him into the world of net banking.

He asked, “If I do that, I won’t have to step out of the house?”

“Yes, yes,” I said. I told him how even groceries can be delivered at your door now and how Amazon delivers everything.

His answer left me tongue-tied. He said, “Since I entered this bank today, I have met four of my friends, I have chatted a while with the staff, who know me very well by now. You know I am alone … This is the company that I need. I like to get ready and come to the bank. I have enough time, it is the physical touch that I crave. Two years back I got sick, the store owner from whom I buy fruits, came to see me and sat by my bedside and cried. When your mom fell down a few weeks back while on her morning walk, our local grocer saw her and immediately got her into his car to rush her home, as he knows where I live. Would I have the human touch if everything became online? Why would I want everything delivered to me and force me to interact just with my computer? I like to know the person that I am dealing with and not just the seller. It creates bonds of relationships. Does Amazon deliver all this as well? Technology is not life … Spend time with people … not the devices.”

Maureen Rice, Florida

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To the Next Generation:

I was very fortunate to know my grandparents of both my parents and cherished our annual trips to visit them. They were a wealth of information and guidance, with many stories.

It was my dad, my guiding light and the most influential person in my life, [who said] the following words that stuck with me and got me to where I am now (retired in Florida). I hope he would be satisfied with the result, as he has been gone over 12 years.

He was a World War II Navy veteran serving (right out of high school) in the Pacific who, like many, came home and built a life for his family and never talked about the war.

He told me no one owes you anything, and if you want to be successful in life, it is up to you. Never quit a job until you have another one, and always do whatever job you have to the best of your ability. He also said your word is your bond and to always honor your word.

Donn Arthur Malwick, Florida

Epoch Times Photo
Arthur A. Malwick Jr., Donn Arthur Malwick’s father, a World War II veteran. (Courtesy of Donn Arthur Malwick)

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Dear next generation,

I am a 71-year-old Navy veteran here to tell you life is full of challenges. How you react to those challenges will determine who you are. Be strong, have faith, and believe in yourself. Life is a journey, enjoy it.

Don’t get caught up in all the rhetoric you hear and see about CRT, wokeism, and cancel culture. You live in the greatest country on earth. Study her history and know we have made mistakes along the way, but we learned from them. Knowing those mistakes keeps us from making them again. Work hard, be honest with everyone, including yourself, and when you fail (and you will at times), “pick yourself up and get back in the race, that’s life” (a Frank Sinatra lyric).

One of the greatest lessons I learned was sitting at the dinner table at 12 years old. I had just finished eating and asked my dad if he would pay me for mowing the lawn. He asked me what I thought it was worth and I said $3.00. He said OK, took out his wallet, and handed me $3. I thought to myself, yes! When asked to be excused he said sure, but before you go, how much do you think this meal your mother cooked would have cost at a restaurant? He had me. I said, about $4? I learned a lesson. I handed it over and never asked again. I learned the value of work, family, and commitment in that one lesson.

Sal De Mauro, North Carolina

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The best present parents can ever give their children is to love each other.

Do not try to be a sister or brother to your kids. They need a mother and father.

I taught school and I think one of the most important lessons I ever gave was teaching them to shake hands. It had nothing to do with my subject. I told them that one day they would be applying to college or would interview for a job and that first impressions could be lasting. I told them to look the person in the eye and give a strong handshake. Then I went around to every student and made them practice. It was a little thing, but I thought it was worthwhile, and maybe we’ll be able to do it again now that the pandemic is getting under control.

Ann S. Russell, Virginia

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Looking for Your Legacy

I believe we learn who we are from the legacy we receive from our parents. That being said, it’s important that you understand your parents’ history and the history of your grandparents to embrace how past generations made it work with all the difficulties they had to deal with.

I grew up with a mother who was born in 1918 in Italy. In 1945 during the liberation of Italy, she met my father, a British soldier, and moved to England. She was a woman that was an invalid from a young age and had lived under Nazi occupation and also experienced discrimination in England. She became the mother of eight children, and when the youngest was 4 and the oldest was 13, her husband, my father, died.

Epoch Times Photo
Clorinda and James Henry O’Neill on their honeymoon in Rome in 1945. (Courtesy of Dorothy O’Neill)

She spoke broken English, was extremely poor, but knew what she needed to do for her family. It didn’t come from outside but from within. She did not depend on anything or anyone, or any government. She did get her widow’s pension and her child allowance from the government, but this was a small help to take care of her children.

She got a job in a mental asylum laundry as it worked with her schedule to pick up her children after school. This was her life, and although hard, she took great pride and dedication in being a great mother.

There were few luxuries, very few simple holidays, mostly used clothes, but lots of lessons in learning how to look at life for what you can do to make it better, rather than what you can get.

She taught us to work hard and to believe in ourselves. We never looked at our life as if we were poor but lucky to have what we had. She never let us ever feel sorry for ourselves, and today we have followed in her footsteps. In her 60s, she purchased her first home!

All my siblings, in one way or another, have taken our mother’s legacy and made a life that’s based on “what can l do to make my life better,” not “what can I get,” or “what can be done for me.”

She never saw herself as a victim, although at times she was ridiculed for her accent and spat on for being Italian. She didn’t look for pity or someone to stand up for her, she held her head high.

So look to your history to find your legacy within your family, embrace what you may never have seen before, and use it to grow into whatever you wish to be, for that is the gift they gave you to use. No government can take care of you, you have a legacy, a wealth of history to help you build, use it!

Dr. Dorothy O’Neill, California

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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 1000