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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

Wednesday, March 2 2005
Jon Kennedy, webmaster

It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.

—Jesus, Luke 17:2

With all the cable news coverage and comedic sendups of the Michael Jackson charges and trial, along with the seemingly weekly reports of public school teachers being charged with improper conduct with students, this thread has been needling its way through my thoughts again recently. I think one of the negative hallmarks of today's adult generation is their widespread indifference to the standard Jesus preached in the passage excerpted above. Many members of today's establishment generation have made it crystal clear that they could care less about how their actions affect children; their own lives are what count. From sports "stars" who whine that they aren't being paid to be "role models" to clergy who lead astray their youth, to pregnant women who can't live with the convenience of a(nother?) baby, to entertainment producers who think it's cool to "break the facts of life" through children's cartoons, we've seen a sea change in how the older generation treats the younger ones from our childhood to that of our grandchildren.

Of course in our time there were many exceptions, too, like the uncle-by-marriage of mine who—I was horrified to be told in my teens—stood his sons up on the dining table and taught them to talk dirty from age two. We all knew adults who taught such behavior at least by example if not directly instilling the vocabulary. Many fathers encouraged their sons to experiment with sex and other older adults were willing to buy teenagers booze. There were those who were seducers or willing partners with "children" who played the seducer role, then, too. But on the whole, these unsavory types were considered just that at the time, undesirables who were pigeonholed somewhere between bad influences and perverts.

There were scandals that were known about only through whispers, but occasionally they were "confirmed" by the unravelling of a promising career when someone quickly left town. If there were pedophiles (and of course there were some), they were more likely to get away with their behavior because there were so many "unmentionable" subjects at the time. And in some jurisdictions there were no laws against some behaviors now considered major crimes and widely committed, because no one in authority then could imagine such acts being perpetrated.

But most of the adults in our lives were aware of the need to protect us and not become stumbling blocks that might win them a millstone in turn. No school teacher was "living in sin" then. Most police officers were more likely to warn or even arrest anyone heard cursing in public (as one of our Saturday Pages "history tidbits" recounted last year) than be heard cursing himself. It wasn't just good business to be polite and congenial to the customers and fuss over babies, it was part of the philosophy of life back then; it was more than courtesy, it was protection of the young and of the social fabric we depended on.

There was a lot of hypocrisy, as suggested by that "whispering." And in the end, when this cocoon of protection of the young began unravelling, it was the charge of "hypocrisy," most often, that won the assent if not the participation of the people of my generation who thought more "honesty" and "letting it all hang out" might be "healthy." On the whole, it hasn't been very healthy and on the whole I miss the kinder, gentler days when children were shielded from the muck rather than encouraged to play in it.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

A complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005

Irish jokes

An older man walks into Murphy's Pub with three women and announces, "I'll give any man a soveriegn to marry my 20-year-old daughter, I'll give you ten soveriegns to marry my 30-year-old daughter, and to marry my 40-year-old daughter, I'll give you a hundred sovereigns!" At first. there was nothing but silence, until a voice from the back of the room said, "Have you got a daughter about 80?"

Sent by Trudy Myers

Thought for today

Christian one-liners:
Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.

Sent by Carl Essex   

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