Generation Gap

Thank you for the heartwarming article about the young Jourdan Duncan who walked to work and back (two hours each way) without complaining, without even telling his parents. It’s great that the policeman Kirk Keffer collected money and bought him a bike.

This article brought home to me the vast difference between the way the previous generation grew up and the way we, here in the U.S., grew up/are growing up.

My mother and her brothers, who grew up in Siberia in the 1940s, would daydream about one day having a room just for apples, and another room filled only with bread. They were so hungry that all their fantasies were about food, and not even chocolate.

Today, if the only things to eat in the house were bread and apples, the children would surely point out, “There’s no food in the house!” And the mother might apologize for that and quickly go food-shopping (that’s what I would do).

While in Russia, my mother and her brothers once found a coin of low value. With it, they could buy one tiny, bruised crabapple. The peddler almost didn’t want their nearly valueless coin, and told them it wouldn’t be possible for them to divide it into three anyway, but without any fighting between the children at all, they did.

Today, hundreds of dollars of Chanukah gelt is often the cause of arguments among children. You could buy a few truckloads of crabapples for that money.

I think that for the sake of helping them gain some perspective, it’s helpful to share with the younger generation these stories of how previous generations grew up. And also the story of Jourdan Duncan.

Rishe Deitsch, Senior Editor,
N’shei Chabad Newsletter