I am a relic of a bygone era and the realization of this fact saddens me. I came from an time where corporal punishment featured creative uses of the belt, hands, broomsticks, shoes and the like in response to various acts of malfeasance. I don’t intend for this to be a treatise on how well behaved me and my peers were in comparison to the youth of the present, but this is intended to be more of an observation.
My peers and I engaged in our acts of mischief under the cover of proverbial darkness, we utilized guile and skill that rivaled that of the intelligence agencies of today. We knew, we smelled and we felt fear down to our bone marrow, knowing that if we were caught in the act that “it” would be something that would be circulated throughout our respective family units.
There was nothing worse than the sense of foreboding that preceded being paraded throughout the homes of your extended family members to hear the vocalized disappointment that your actions had wrought. Especially, when you didn’t know where and when you would be subject to being a recipient of a “jab” to the head to ensure that everything was working upstairs.
The point is this… When I did wrong, I knew that my actions had consequences that I would have to bear the burden of the responsibility for. In the fog of my youth I was often oblivious to the power that words could wield, the duality of words to cut deeper than a plunge from a knife; while those words, phrased differently having the ability to empower and infuse the listener with a sense of fortitude and resilience to do what was thought to be inconceivable.
I’ve alluded to this so many times that I feel that I am blue in the face. But, it seems the many convenience of our uber-connected world often do us a disservice in the same breath. The anonymity of the Internet lifts the burden of responsibly harboring the courage of our convictions, why is hiding behind a computer screen the norm rather than the exception?
Nowadays it is routine for people to exhibit counterfeit courage behind an avatar, fictitious name and computer screen. It is my contention that expressing yourself in this fashion isn’t tantamount to bravery, but I equate it to cowardice.
In the not-so-distant past you wore the courage of your convictions, you spoke the truth as you saw it. And if that meant being ostracized or in some circumstances getting a fist to the face, you dusted yourself off and weighed the logic of continuing on the path of opening your piehole, inopportunely. Ideally, experience lent the ability to frame your arguments in a fashion that was more conducive to open and honest dialogue versus useless invective.
Is this a case of us outgrowing this trait or a case of atrophy from lack of use?