Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Old School

Sometimes we hear the term 'old school' applied in a pejorative way as in: "Oh ignore him, he's just old school. It bothers me a little because, as I understand it, being old school should be something to make one proud.

Old school people understand the absolute necessity of one generation sacrificing for the next. This was illustrated so well by the immigrants to this country from all races and ethnic groups who worked hard despite an often harsh reception at the hands of their neighbors. They endured prejudice and unfair treatment, worked at menial jobs (often more than one) and by so doing, earned the grudging respect of those around them. Their children received the education they never had, and as a result, their way in the world was made a little easier. So anxious were they to assimilate that they sometimes left behind the rich cultural heritage of their homeland so that nothing would stand in the way of the Americanization of their families. Happily, their children and grandchildren are rediscovering their roots and restoring the old traditions that define who they are.

Old school people know that you can't rely on the government or anyone else to take care of your family. They raise their children to live by the values they themselves learned from their parents. They teach by example such principles as respecting those around you unless they give reason to be treated otherwise; working hard to get what you want in life; extending a helping hand to those less fortunate; living as a responsible citizen by obeying our laws and fighting injustice; and by living within their means, setting something aside for that rainy day we know will come.

Old school people take full responsibility for themselves. They recognize that like no other country, America affords opportunity for those bold enough to grasp it. They don't squander their God-given talent but rather enhance it through formal education and by learning well the lessons taught in the streets. They don't expect to start at the top but are willing to pay their dues until they are worthy of greater things. Setbacks and failures are not things to be laid at the doorstep of others but challenges to be overcome. They are generous enough to lend a helping hand to younger people the same way they were helped on their way up. They do not make excuses and most of all they do not quit

Finally, old schoolers are courteous in an age when manners and civility are taking a beating. When women rightly asserted their right to equal employment and equal treatment under the law, many men abandoned chivalrous behavior toward women as the price to be paid for their equality. This is wrong. Holding a door open or surrendering your seat to a woman or older person is simply common courtesy. I think chivalry, if not done in a condescending manner, is still something most women welcome. Pulling out a chair in a restaurant or respecting elders should not be customs that are abandoned as our society moves toward full equality. Southerners are still old school. They may have lost the Civil War but they have, so much more successfully than northerners, retained the gift of civil behavior.

If these are the things that old school people are derided for, then I am proud to stand with them and suffer the slings and arrows. Old school rules.


LOOKING FOR A WORTHY CHARITY? TRY THESE FOLKS: Children's Craniofacial Association


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