I blame my own generation for the current downfall of manners, morals, faith and values. We stopped paying heed to these rituals and rules to continue rebelling and punishing our parents for corporal punishment and other frustrations growing up. However, this decline is seen generation after generation, due to wars which caused society to shift from a state of depression with the loss of sons, brothers and husbands, but also economic changes as well. The decline also has suffered due to relocation of families, who are no longer near grandparents, uncles and aunts. Of course now we have social media, cell phones, texting which all correlate to a decline in the above as well as religious practice or even spiritual beliefs as well. Will we ever go back, I certainly hope so but it is highly unlikely. People get lazy and just as their ancestry or cultural background is watered down from the old country to the grandchild, the same has occurred for manners, morals, faith and values.
Growing up, I went to charm school which accentuated the lessons learned at home and from my grandparents. If the phone rang, you picked it up and found out who it was for. If a movie came out, the ratings were very important and the women would discuss amongst each other whether they should let their children – 18 to attend or not (chaperoned for a Rated R of course and discussed afterward). We had respect for our elders whether we liked them or not. We shook hands when we were introduced to someone new and said “How nice to meet you.” We were always grateful for gifts provided to us or a home that was proffered while visiting out of town. Our homes were clean, as we didn’t want to be seen as people who lived on the “other side of the tracks,” nor would we want to invite someone in and have it a mess. Likewise, if someone did visit, we offered drink and food: the time of day would determine if they would be asked to stay to lunch/dinner or to be given a snack or dessert.
Socialization was extremely important as this provided connections or networking. My first jobs came from friends parents or my own parents telling me about an opening. Visiting people was an opportunity to see what other people lived like, to get ideas for gardening, recipes, child rearing, and marriage advice. Seeing your grandparents meant that you had a chance to learn stories from the elders about history. It was fun to spend weekends or even a week with them and live a different lifestyle. I loved visiting elders, especially my nana in Wheeling, West Virginia. She lived on what I thought was a mountain (foothills of the Appalachian). She had a washer with a ringer and hung her clothes up to dry. We made jam together, picked food from the garden and I got to have my own room for the week! I even travelled there by bus, so this was exciting to me to be an independent young woman. God forbid we should send a young one alone on a bus today, they are liable to be raped.
Couples began to move away from people they grew up with and lost the connection to relatives. They began to focus on themselves and forgot about the ones they left behind. Often they would not even visit very often and did not make their whereabouts of importance to their children. Isolation caused abuse in the household; no one to hold them accountable. Isolation meant they could do what they wanted and often this meant not holding up religious or cultural beliefs. It is one thing to have a new faith or belief that you actually follow but another to have nothing. This causes a decline in the child’s spiritual development and less adult supervision or mentoring, thereby creating isolation for the child (no one to turn to if parents are bad).
With the high divorce rate and the increase in single parents, many women have begun to force a hold on their husbands by become dictators in their households. I have seen grandmothers who can not see their grandchildren, simply because the ex-wife or the current wife (daughter-in-law) doesn’t like them. It is an obsession women have created over their husbands which has caused weak minded men who collapse into this authoritarian household. These men, who also did not grow up with a father but had a stepfather or boyfriend (of mom) and most likely an absent father who did not groom them on how to be a man.
Social media and texting has caused a huge decline in communication. Along with this, a lack of decency toward fellow human beings. If someone doesn’t want to speak to you any more, due to unexpressed conflict or frustration, they simply block you and pretend you didn’t exist. “Ghosting” has become a term where people can disappear into oblivion. It reminds me of a male who knocks a girl up and then leaves town. As a result of this the victim suffers from confusion and depression at the loss of a friend or lover. They are also prone to focusing on becoming “People Pleasers,” in order to make sure this doesn’t happen again, thereby losing a sense of self. Both parties do not get a chance to grow at the lack of communication. When I was growing up, you might hang up the phone in an argument but you would often cool off and call them back later. It was bad manners to stop talking altogether.
We don’t even accept an apology anymore. This was a sign of someone who showed their remorse or humbled themselves in front of another. Now, when someone apologizes or defends themselves when accused wrongfully, they are looked down on or blocked/ghosted. Since manners are no longer valued, the mistake is determined to be the law and you are sentenced to be annhilated from the person or persons. Instead of receiving sympathy or even empathy God forbid, your apology is pulled apart and laughed at or you are gaslighted. The angry person becomes so stuck on their ego that they fail to have compassion for humanity.
I am not trying to say we were perfect in history, far from it. However, you knew where you stood. Even though there was segregation, there was a level of class within. You had companionship, loyalty, trust and commitment. While we stayed in our circles, we looked out for one another. Perhaps we fell behind in women’s rights, human rights in general, in various places, but, as a result the education and knowledge from these time periods helped us to understand human rights of today. In those time periods, we didn’t understand these things. We also lacked psychological knowledge or awareness. There weren’t the medical break-throughs that we have today. All of these things forced us to create our own standards and stay together to feel safe and protected. This is no different than what has occurred in indigenous societies for thousands of years.
Staying safe in packs, being nationalistic, sticking with members of your faith, this is not new nor is it wrong. When you think of wars, “the law” showing up in villages to torture and kill in the name of God, or businessman moving in to found a company and establishing rules for the community; this all comes together. It was not right but this was what they knew. It was what they were given power over others for. To blame the past for mistakes made means that you do not grow. We have to learn from our mistakes, not to stop having manners, morals, faith and values but to not make the same errors in judgement toward others. Instead, we give it all up and focus on ourselves. Individualism.
Blocking someone who is abusing you is one thing. Blocking someone because you don’t want to confront an obstacle is another. Because you refuse to accept an apology, this is all a question of lacking manners or having values. The thinking might be “I have 400 friends on Facebook, therefore you are expendable.” It might also be, I am safer going into hiding in the corner of the world I have created – my cave – my family. But, again, I have my online community that supports me and I never have to see them. As long as they “like” my posts and say positive things in the comments, they can stay. Otherwise, they are dead to me. How very immature, one-sided and lacking in self-awareness.
The pandemic enforced isolation through fear, ignorance, and was brought on by powerful people who made others believe in them. The correlation to Nazism and communistic mindsets were forgotten as the watered down generations had no idea what this was all about. Historical shows today are fabricated to make people believe different things happened than what did. We have gone from historical fiction to just fiction that makes a pretense at being about history. Before too long, not only will children not be able to read cursive, they will believe Alexander Hamilton and Queen Charlotte of Britain were black. Soon, there will be no such thing as slavery or the holocaust because this will be turned into something completely different. Kids will learn to make up their own reality because no one cares anyway. I once said that at some point antique stores will cease to exist, what with everything Made in China. Objects will all be in the landfills since they don’t last. Authentic history will be known to a small minority of people who wonder why others don’t care.
We have already begun to kick out university professors who do not conform to politically correct standards and try to educate on critical thinking. Again, I defer to Nazism and communist mindsets. Group think. Perhaps these professors are not thrown into concentration camps or have not disappeared to Siberia or other hidden prison systems. Should I say they are lucky? Are we lucky? We are going to be ruled by these uneducated minds who do not engage in critical thinking.
I grew up with Hungarians and learned what it was like to live in pre-1956, as well as post. I have watched movies and conducted research for my book based on this topic. It starts with a wave of knowledge infiltrated through the young, by their teachers and then this influence is sent home. They go after their parents and elders in society and are commended for their actions. Over time, they gain power for being more unforgiving and brutal in their opinions and tactics at holding people accountable. A witch hunt began with the “Me Too” movement, no different than McCarthyism where the hunt was on, in Hollywood, for communists. How soon we forget. How little we take the time to think.
Is it a coincidence that at the same time religion sees a decline and the Jewish faith has the least amount of people involved than any other religion? Having faith enforced values, morals, manners as these were the tenets of being involved with organized religion. While I personally do not support dogma of one particular belief, I uphold the tenets of what I learned growing up in my actions, deeds and personal integrity. I am spiritually committed to a daily practice after realizing the connection I am making here. After my relationship ended last year and, I realized, that part of this was my own fault. I had committed myself to someone, without being mindful of the hints that were being thrown at me along the way. Having integrity with my spiritual practice, rather than using it when I felt like it, has changed my life. We have to have a commitment to something. Something that is about human kindness, dignity, and growth. Of course, so many people say “I am a Christian,” or Muslim, or Jew, or Buddhist, or what have you and they would sooner stab you in the back than look you in the eye. Having a faith in some belief means you have to have a commitment to personal integrity as well. Unfortunately, when it comes to personal beliefs in faith, we can make ourselves right on just about anything. Interpretations of faith. Hence, 9/11.