Monday, May 01, 2006

Oh, Grow Up! - Are We a Society of Adolescents?

I read a post a couple of weeks ago at Brandywine Books that started my thought processes whirring. Lars, the writer at that site, wrote:

It seems to me that we live in an adolescent society. Among today’s icons are John Belushi in Animal House and Bart Simpson in anything. The slacker is so much smarter than everybody else. He sits back and makes fun of the squares who work and make sacrifices. He knows only suckers take on responsibility. He knows somebody will always bail him out.

It's true. Are movie or television shows about hard-working everyday folks? No. The movie and/or TV hero is usually described in the reviews as "a rebel" or "a loose cannon." That is because movie and TV were designed to be escapist media. We watch television episodes and movie adventures to provide excitement to what is, by necessity, the routine of our everyday lives.

But I have begun to be aware that many citizens in the younger generations do not realize this simple fact. Are they dissatisfied with their lives (which are normal) because they lack the excitement they wrongly believe is due them in life? Do they know that no real person lives like the characters in their favorite movies and television shows? Do they realize that society would not even exist if everybody lived in such a self-serving, self-centered manner caring only for his/her own concerns and causes?

Is this disconnect some of the cause for the discontent of so many people? Can we retrace our steps and teach our children that true happiness and excitement is sometimes found in working hard and accomplishing a task that seemed impossible before we tried. Can we show more of them that happiness is truly attainable through helping others achieve their goals.

Helen Keller was a prime example of a person who could easily have secumbed to a "boring" life; but she chose to make her life exciting. She created excitement NOT by becoming a "loose cannon", by flaunting the rules of society, but by finding ways to fully utilize her mind and her abilities. In thinking about happiness and satisfaction with one's life, consider these three Helen Keller quotes:

Life is an exciting business, and most exciting when it is lived for others.

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained.

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