This was going to be about my usual taxi run, picking up one or other of the grandchildren from either school, or the railway station, to take them home, a benefit their parents have with grand parents with nothing better to do.
I say that tongue in cheek, because I usually have something else to do, but it is a pleasurable experience for either of us because it means we get to spend some time with our grandchildren while they are young, and before they discover that world out there that we ‘oldies’ would know nothing about.
I have no doubt there are times when they think we have past our use by date. It’s the bane of all old people sooner or later, unless they forge a close relationship with them in those early years.
I like to think we have, but you can never tell.
We’d like to be able to give them an independent ear, people who will listen to them and not judge, not in the way parents would. I remember myself saying that my parents would never understand the problems we had, that it was nothing like that when they were our age.
It’s the same now. The mantra never changes, but the generation has shifted, and I guess to a certain extent they are right. We didn’t have computers, mobile phones, or the endless supply of cash to go out with our friends to the mall, to the movies, to parties, sleep overs. We just didn’t have the money period, even if those activities existed in our time.
There wasn’t television, computer games, we had to find our own amusement, in the street, with other kids, using our imagination. We had to socially mix, talk to other kids, and there wasn’t the level of marriage breakups, broken homes, and distressed kids, not in our day. Divorce was a dirty word, spoken in hushed tones.
Now it seems homes with a mother and a father living together, or still talking to each other civilly, is a miracle rather than the norm. What the hell went wrong in 50 years? It seems to me that in the last 25 years we have presided over a world that has fallen to pieces, and, failing to recognise the looming disaster, we just sat by and watched it unfold.
And just how I managed to get so melancholy while waiting for a child at the railways station, I’ll never know. Perhaps it was the observance of several kids bullying another, perhaps it was because I sat in a locked car partially fearful about that trouble spilling over.
I know when I was a child my parents instilled in me a respect for others, even if I didn’t agree with them, or, god forbid, I didn’t like them. Like now, I get along with anyone and everyone because it was how we were taught.
What happened since then?
Did we forget slowly over time the virtue of tolerance and respect?
Fortunately the train, and my granddaughter has arrived, so I can cease with the rant. The children hassling each other had to run to the train and what might have been an unpleasant scene dissipated without violence.
She gets in the car, after I unlock the doors and it’s the start of a fifteen minute discussion about her day at school. It, too, is very different from my day, but, in it’s way, still the same battlefield between students and teachers.
At least some things never change.