A generation of fighters

To the editor:

I recently met an elementary school counselor who told me that all public school children are learning how to deal with bullies. They practice saying, “I feel (fill in the blanks)___________ when you ____________, and I want ___________.” When I was a child, it seemed that the boys punched, the girls gossiped, and bullies ruled.

I look forward to the day when these young ones grow up and take over the reins of government, because we face some serious problems that will not be solved until people who disagree are able to work with each other. Sometimes I fear that the legacy of my generation will be that we were good fighters. I like to think that we accomplished some good things with our protests. Fifty years ago 250,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C., and heard Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his “I have a dream” speech. (I just learned that he set his notes aside and spoke the most memorable part extemporaneously!)

Something has happened to us Americans recently. We have allowed money to corrupt every aspect of our lives, with serious implications for our republic. Money has bought our airwaves and media outlets, and we cannot have serious discussions because we don’t trust each other’s sources. We are duped into fighting rather than cooperating with each other to find solutions. Something in us seems to enjoy “a good fight” even though our consciences gently nudge us towards peaceful connections. Thank goodness our youngest generation is learning to put this deeper value into action!

We are all bound by natural processes that assure that today’s youngsters eventually will be in charge. They will most certainly learn from our mistakes. Let’s show these future leaders that we Baby Boomers can learn, too. We have been bullies, pigheadedly and fearfully holding onto our outmoded ideas. If we change, the next generations won’t say to us: “We feel sad when you fight, and we want you to work together to solve problems.”

Carolyn Peterson