Did we measure up?
That was the question we faced as we commemorated our dear departed last week. Indeed, did we achieve enough by their standards. Naturally, the standards for a meaningful comparison have to be reduced into real terms. It is just like comparing the rate of inflation or the value of one’s earnings in todays amount as compared to the earnings of parents 40 years ago.
It is easy to do that when it came to monetary values. But when it came to matters that really count in real life, the comparison can be like between apples and oranges. Yet some gauge of measurements can be arrived at. And almost always, our elders are the winners, hands down.
For instance, were you as respectable in the community as your father was? Or mother, for that matter? Another way of putting it is, can you measure up to the integrity of your parents?
By and large they had higher in integrity than us due to the generation we belong in. Life back then was simpler. The communities were smaller and those who were not living “respectable” lives stood out and were sort of ostracized. So people seldom went beyond the accepted norms or social behavior.
And there are a lot more temptations now to go astray. Not to include modern conveniences that could tempt and enable people to engage in activities used to be considered “bad” long ago. Thus, it is easy now to invite a married person to go on a date due to the conveniences offered by cellphones and other modern gadgets, and facilities like malls, movie houses, restaurants, motels, etc.
Moreover, people now are more intelligent, more empowered and aware of their rights so would not be easily bullied by their partners. So it is not uncommon to hear women say regarding their partners, “if you think you can play around, I can too.”
Another area where our elders did a lot better is honor. Define it whatever you want but people then were more honorable than us. The simplest form is word of honor. Due to our materialistic environment there is a strong drive to get ahead of others materially. We are so fixated by this we easily break our words as long as it results in more gain for us. A testament to this are our clogged courts of law due to broken promises including marriage vows. Most people now have forked tongues or are adept in double speak.
The way out for our “rotten” generation is to redeem ourselves by going back to the emphasis on human and spiritual values. Such can be easier achieved if we lead simple lives. Better for us, our kids, families and communities.
Let engaging in morning and evening prayers or meditation be common again.**