Many of us have been taught to respect our elders. Their experience and wisdom has come from decades of tough times. While the younger generation may think they know all there is to know, they could definitely learn a lesson or two from these folks if they’d just listen.
When one grocery store cashier had an elderly woman come through her checkout line she condescendingly told her that she should start bringing her own bags to the store because plastic bags aren’t good for the environment.
The woman was hurt and replied, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.” Thinking that she had won the argument the cashier replied, “That’s our problem today. Your generation didn’t care enough about the environment to save it for future generations.”
Finally, the older woman had reached her limit and let her have it. She explained to the clerk that back then they returned milk, soda, and beer bottles to the store so they could be sent back to the plant to be washed, sterilized, and used again.
Grocery stores bagged groceries in brown paper bags that they used for numerous things like garbage bags and covering school books. This ensured that the school’s public property was protected and not defaced by scribblings. “But we didn’t do the ‘green thing’ back then.”
She went on to say that they walked to the grocery store instead of jumping into a 300 horsepower machine every time they needed to go a few blocks and they used stairs instead of energy wasting elevators and escalators.
They dried their clothes on the line and washed diapers because they didn’t have the throw away kind. Wind and solar power really did dry their clothes. “But that was before we had this ‘green thing’.”
They wore hand me downs instead of buying new clothing. And back then they had one television the size of a handkerchief instead of a big television in every room. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do it for them.
To ship fragile items they wrapped things up in old newspaper, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. They mowed the lawn without gasoline or electricity, only man powered mowers. “But we didn’t have this ‘green thing’ then.”
She continued and said that they didn’t have to buy a gym membership and run on electric treadmills because they worked. They drank from a water fountain when they were thirsty instead of a plastic cup or bottle.
They refilled ink pens and put new razor blades in razors instead of throwing them away and buying new ones. They walked and rode the bus or bicycles instead of driving around a $40,000 SUV, and they didn’t need a computer to find the nearest burger joint, but that was all before the ‘green thing’ too.
“But isn’t it sad,” she said. “That the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back then?” The cashier was absolutely speechless.
I hope this young cashier learned a lesson or two about thinking before speaking, and how there is plenty to learn from our elders if we just take the time to listen. Be sure to share this story with your family and friends.