Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Back Off, Dad

I had to deal with a silly young fool last night. I was getting angry because I so disapproved of what they are doing. (what they're doing isn't wicked, only foolish.) Then I realized I was turning into my father and put the brake down hard.

Things the old should always bear in mind.

1. The young (unlike their elderly selves) do not desire a quiet life.

2. In the unimproveable words of William Blake, "If a fool would persist in his folly he would become wise."

3, Nobody pays any attention to a moralizing greybeard anyway.

If I had lived my life along lines my father had approved I would have been- by now- a very twisted, unhappy, bitter old man. I did some very risky things in my youth and middle-age and I'm "no deid yet". Sometimes my memory fails me and I talk as if I was always the cautious, world-weary old creature I am now. And I wasn't. Youth is for making mistakes in and falling over and getting up again. This is how we learn- by taking knocks while we're still resilient. The old- who have done all these things themselves (or should have done)- need only offer a helping hand and a measure of understanding. If they feel the need to salt this with advice they should keep it brief and not take it personally when they're ignored.

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