Old School V New School
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I am often accused of being "old school" which, I guess, means I'm out of
step with the times. If it's a matter of saying "please" and "thank you," some
basic manners such as holding a door open for someone, showing some
consideration and respect for others, a sense of duty, or just trying to lead an
honorable and meaningful life, then I guess I'm guilty as charged. I also think
being "old school" means valuing a dollar earned and having the ability to do
so. I get the uneasy feeling though that "new school" believes they are entitled
to everything; be it a cell phone, an education, a job, health care, prosperity,
or some other material possession. True, each generation tries to make life
easier for the next, but I'm afraid there is no guarantee for success in life
and entitlement is a myth embraced by the "new school."
If the recession of 2008-2009 taught us anything, it's that we are entitled
to nothing; everything must be earned, regardless if it is money, a material
object, a promotion, love, or respect, and as such should be valued dearly. If
you did not earn it, you will not value it. Consider this: who appreciates an
expensive wristwatch more; the person who worked hard and saved his money to buy
it, or the person given it as one of a number of gifts showered upon him? Most
likely, the former and not the latter.
Entitlement means we believe we have some God-given right to something. The
reality though is that we live in a capitalistic society where we are given the
rare opportunity to work for ourselves which isn't always easy, but you are at
least given a chance to prove yourself, hence the expression, "The land of
opportunity." It encourages you to innovate, invent, explore, design, build,
think, compete, and sweat, and it allows visionaries and entrepreneurs to
flourish. However, it comes at a price; that you are responsible for your own
actions and you may very well succeed as well as fail (it is called "risk"). The
only thing you are entitled to under capitalism is the right to try. There are
no guarantees for success or failure, and I believe we have done the "new
school" a disservice in not teaching this properly.
"Old school" also implies you are not in step with the latest fashions or
trends in technology. This may be true, but I tend to believe "old school" is
not easily impressed by glitz and facade and is more concerned with finding
pragmatic solutions instead. After already witnessing many social trends in
their lifetime, "old school" is more concerned with simplicity and practicality
as opposed to complexity.
I had a friend from the UK recently tell me about the differences between the
generations in his family. He was born in pre-World War II London and vividly
remembers his family essentially had nothing, yet he and his sister found ways
of entertaining themselves and generally recalls a rather happy childhood. As he
got older and had a family of his own, his children benefited from the
prosperity following the War and enjoyed such creature comforts as television,
refrigerators, microwave ovens, washing machines, etc. He now has grandchildren
who have just about every toy imaginable, cell phones, computers, etc. Despite
all of their materialism though, he believes he had a better childhood. Why?
Because it was a simpler time and he focused more on playing with his friends as
opposed to being preoccupied with electronic devices. His story makes a
compelling argument that added complexity doesn't necessarily ensure happiness.
I guess the fundamental difference between "old school" and "new school" is
that we have different values as a result of changing times. As for me, if I'm
accused of being "old school," I'll take it as a compliment. I hope my children
will do likewise when their turn comes.
Keep the Faith!
Copyright © 2010 Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of
M. Bryce & Associates
(MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the
management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-02-25 10:15:45 in Personal Articles